stands for all of life,
even for those things that most resemble death,
because Maud occupies her favorite chair,
knitting a sweater for no one to wear,
out of the necessity to busy the hands,
relieve the mind of its terrible duties,
retell her story in stitch after stitch
so the end result is something warm and lovely.
A crucifix on the wall,
a husband behind glass,
bestow in silver-plate and photograph
the blessings that remain to her,
from her thick mop of white hair,
to wrinkled but active fingers,
all the way down to
the knitting needles,
the basket of wool skeins.
Jesus is nailed and hurting.
The man in uniform
is off to war, off to heaven.
She joins them in pain
with a bend to her spine,
a much-broken heart.
But there’s still this
sheer blood-red dreaminess
to her shapeless eyes
And her breath is like a breeze
continually rousing her aged loveliness.
Yes, it’s more of a winter wind these days.
But the chill can never settle.
And she cannot quite settle on the chill.
About the Author: John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in That, Dunes Review, Poetry East and North Dakota Quarterly with work upcoming in Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, Thin Air, Dalhousie Review and Failbetter.
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Photo Credit: Gertrude Käsebier “Grandmother Käsebier with Knitting” (1895) Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.