Here’s the thick paste some kids used to taste in kindergarten. Here’s the glue we later spread over our fingers and peeled off like a second skin. Here are Sesame Street band-aids, ace bandages, arm slings, and Sharpie-signed casts. Here’s some tape: Scotch, double-sided, masking, blue. Here’s the stapler I accidentally stole from my previous workplace and my entire stash of staples for you.
I’ve only hand-bound books before, connecting children’s stories and sticker collections with staples along the edge or with a hole punch and yarn tied in bows, but for you I would learn more serious binding. Here are saddle stitch, smyth sewn, cased coil, fabric spine wrap, perfect.
Here’s every extra clothing button I’ve saved in little bags. Here are zippers from jeans, backpacks, and luggage. Here are belts both functional and fashionable. Here are Velcro and laces and those impossible to open ankle strap clasps from little girls’ dress shoes.
Here are my prayers interwoven with yours for your girls, for our boys—these impossible children who move too fast to see that we use pieces of ourselves each time we bind their wounds.
Katie Manning is the founding editor-in-chief of Whale Road Review and a professor of writing at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. She is the author of 28,065 Nights (River Glass Books, 2020) and Tasty Other (Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award, 2016). Her poems have appeared in december, The Lascaux Review, Stirring, THRUSH, Verse Daily, and many other venues. Find her online at www.katiemanningpoet.com.