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Emily Hyland

the sweater

her last two years my mother knits a sweater

yarn soft interspersed stripes of multicolor


her hands not natural at needled motion

so she curses at chemo when freezing fingers


fail to loop a cord of thread in cable casting

on on she commits to the long sleeve


backstitches and stumbles knuckled

arthritic undoes newly planted rows


like carrots seeds neatly tucked into a field

threads root into their earthly plot to grow


interweaving into wooly frock but poorly so

line by line she pulls her work apart


invasive carcinoma to the garment’s cells

eventual unfinishing her goal


she unravels the loom like Penelope

confined to cancer center cubicle


unlike the seaside weaver looking out

wry undoer of funeral shrouds


undoer of destiny my mother’s latent hands

colder and colder with every toxic IV droplet


down down into the tangles of her dying

knots of sweater yarn bundled at her bedside


half-sleeve limp and unsuccessful

at quelling the place she would go


Emily Hyland’s poetry appears in a multitude of journals. A restaurateur and English professor from New York City, Emily is a founder/partner of the national restaurant groups Pizza Loves Emily and Emmy Squared Pizza. Her cookbook, Emily: The Cookbook, was published by Ballantine Books, an imprint of Random House, in 2018. She is a member of the Community of Writers and studies the writing practice method in the Ghost Ranch desert with Mirabai Starr as much as she can.

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