new world

How I learned to knit was an undershirt.
She called it a semmit and
tucked a needle under one arm.

She asked for red.
The pattern was in her head.
I can’t remember how many we cast on.

The mother of my Scots husband,
her chin skimmed my shoulder,
scanned the precipice.

She picked up my dropped stitches,
peered down her floury bap,
the epeiric sea loud in our ears.

Her breath was tannin,
held something of the root.
She handed me back the pins

and their doggerel.
She called me quinie,
blinked me with her blue sweeties.

Born in another century,
moss-stitching the straps,
it was easy to cast off

what she couldn’t own.
She blamed the new world.
I would not scrub cement.

© Tori Grant Welhouse