Scrape years of dirt

off the date, rip nettles

from the headstone.

Gather armfuls.

Pay no heed

to swollen knuckles,

red welts at the wrist.

 

Wrap stem after stem

around the needle,

fibrous strands of story,

shreds

of faded photos,

in – over –

under.

 

Stay silent.

Not one word

to pass your lips.

Echo his ghost,

rarest of visitors,

the slow shake of head

at the bottom of the bed.

 

Bind the waist

with a knitting belt

to pass a needle through.

Knit one–handed;

nursing the baby,

stirring the pan,

stacking the shopping.

 

Shake out the finished thing

to settle on the space

around a father:

a winding sheet

for a dinge

in the mattress.

Begin again.