Sometimes, returning to a zipper, I find
I have forced its teeth to mesh above a fault
and what looks like a life is a long improvisation,
ready to split and open at a sideways thrust.
Even unzipping to the fault is a risk:
there's no way to know how bad the wound --
teeth irreparably bent, twisted, even broken? --
and how to get the runner past at all?
Still, I advertise myself as clever with my fingers,
strong when called for and deft, quick or slow
depending on the tempo of the need:
if not me, then who? So I set to work,
working the little interlocking teeth,
peering, kneading, forcing when I must,
fitting bones to sockets (that I can't really see),
guessing my way, against a rise of panic
that everything is broken, nothing fits again,
that zippers all are false, and nothing holds its form.
Then there is a shift, a smoothening, an ease, and suddenly
the runner slides, like a fish into lake.
The flaw vanishes, leaving behind
a faint kink, a hint of weakness
easily ignored; forgotten, maybe,
until the next strong, unconsidered pull.