Strip the outer bark of the dogbane with the dull edge of your knife.
Then flatten the stalk against the ground until the brittle, woody core cracks open.
Peel the fibers from the stalk. Watch them gather into an unruly cloud at your feet.
Separate the strands into hanks and choose one to work with.
Begin with a loop and start the pattern,
twisting and crossing the shaggy threads into a stronger form that can withstand stress without breaking apart.
Before you come to the end of the line, weave in a new strand.
Keep going. You will need miles of cordage to make a basket for this grief. But in the meantime, you will find a lifeline in your cracked hands.
Photo by Will O