OXIDANT | ENGINE : Issue 12

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

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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.