Post 4: Aunt Ida Pieces a quilt

This is a poem written Melvin Dixon, in this poem Dixon talks about AIDS, love and family. He received his PHD from the brown university in addition to teaching at Queens College in New York. He died in 1992 due to complications from AIDS.

This poem starts with an old lady talking about sitting in the hospital where she is given her nieces’ son’s (Junie) cloths who has just passed away. Looking at the “hospital gown, dungarees, his blue choir robe with the white gold sash” (Dixon). She sits and wonders what she should do with all this stuff. Then she talks about her niece’s suggestion that she should quilt as people all over the country are doing that. Again Aunt Ida begins to wonder how she could do something like quilting, she remembers of the many years she tried to quilt and how her mother and her mother’s mother kept correcting her. In this stanza she the readers also realize how old Aunt Ida may be as she talks about how she could not imagine quilting because her eyes are so weak and the way her hands keep locking in a fist.

Yet she starts sewing the quilt, making letters spelling Junie out of each piece of clothing that she had of his. Later she says that as she starts making all this quilt she forgot about her old age and her hands or eyes, she got so busy and involved in remembering her little boy that she knew how happy he might be if he sees this. This is reflected when she says in the second last paragraph that she could almost hear Junie giggle as she sewed her name at the end of the quilt, something she is used to doing since a very young age.

When Francine, the mother of the child comes back and tells Aunt Ida that she is going to send her completed quilt to Washington where it will be kept with a lot more other quilts made in the memory of people who have lost their lives due to such problems.

At the end of the poem, Aunt Ida expresses her opinion about what’s happening in Washington and she wonders how long will this go on. She wonders how many quilts would be sewn together to represent these lives, and will those change what’s happening. She recalls another person who is having a child and again starts looking for her needle.

The end stanza gives a lot of emotion. It kills to think about the effect on the lives of those family members who lose their younger ones due to diseases like AIDS, when Aunt Ida starts looking for her needle at the news of another child being born, it shows how she has lost hope from life and just expects to lose the child again like she has lost Junie.

This poem shows the emotions, the feelings and the after effects of the death of a loved one. While calm the readers can feel the pain going on in the heart of Aunt Ida who has lost the little boy she loved to dearly.

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~ by mshruti on April 15, 2009.

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