In the back corner of the fabric shop
they stack the overdyes
– ink heavy bolts of cloth
that are black and stiff
with the layers
of reprinted patterns.
The trick is to sense what’s buried there
and then to take one’s chances,
for sometimes it’s fool’s gold.
I’ve developed a canny eye that probes
beneath the inky smudge, searching
for bits of brightness and bold lines.
I was looking for inspiration
on the shelves of new clean fabric
when I saw that bolt
out of the corner of my eye
and the lime green beneath the black ink cloud
snatched like lightning.
As the roll unfurled upon the counter
– metre after metre of swirling patterns
within the columns overprinted
on the original design –
my excitement grew
into a purchase of ten metres.
After soaking, hosing, washing, rinsing
the fabric again and again, until the water
was no longer a river of ink
the pattern came through,
bold and true,
and it was, indeed, unique.
It hung on the line,
drying into a brighter brilliance.
I sat in the garden,
the dance of the design
onto the back of my eyeball.
Its imprint unfolded like grace
and I set to to make the quilt,
found matching plains and the cutting line
then sewed strip upon strip into place,
interleaving the thin bright bands
in the overdye’s intricate design.
I turned these into blocks,
pinned up a checkerboard
of pieced and unsewn squares,
stood back to squint-size it up
and somewhere between gut and mind,
saw that the blocks must be redefined.
In measured steps
I sliced the squares
to echo Fibonacci’s series,
felt the quilt resound
with a pleasing click,
saw again that our world
is ruled by chance,
and that with a bit of luck
disguised as serendipity,
and a quilt unfolds
to reflect this synchronicity.