578 million, eight hundred eighty


If a life were a quilt

would I have 67 squares?

or 720 for each hour in each month?

Let’s see

that would be 67 years

times 12 months

times 720.


Life is much longer than I’d previously thought.


No, one square on one quilt.

One big empty square for my niece to scribble on.

(Which would be life square number 345,600 when she was three.)


I’d have to have the 501,120th square with wedding flowers.

And another square for the day my dad died,

And one for the hour of Gregory’s AIDs diagnosis.


For the days I spent watching stupid TV,

too many squares to count.

For the hours of gardening and of making love,

Too happy to quilt.


Friends made a wedding quilt for my husband and I

(Square 233, 280 on my life quilt.)

It had a knee cut out from Allyn’s jeans,

An embroidery of “The Ghoul” who we’d watch stoned,

A swatch of a bridesmaid’s dress,

A peace symbol.

Gregory ruined his square by leaving an iron on it.

I forget the others right now.

They will come to me in a dream.


Blue background with little white flowers.


Yes, my life covers 3,473, 280 square inches of land.

More than enough to garden in, more than enough to wander in,

More than enough to be buried in.

About alicebarrett

Small town writer
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