Written by Gabriella Troy
Art by Markus Spiske

You’re sitting in the corner by the fireplace,
knitting. You used to knit ugly christmas
sweaters and hats with pompoms and
fuzzy socks for the cold little feet of your
grandchildren. Today, and yesterday, and
the day before, you knit only scarves. Just
one scarf, long enough to wrap around this
house like a string of lights with every fourth
bulb dull. Your scarf is a patchwork of holes,
but I’d wear it anyway, if only you asked.

I still have every quilt you’ve ever sent me.
They don’t hang at the foot of my bed; they
smother me in a pile of memories at night.
Your nimble fingers used to weave intricate
stories of strawberry picking and feeding
geese at the playground and holding me
tight so I wouldn’t get lost in the chilly waters
of the cove. Last year, and the year before that,
and every other year I can remember you
enveloping me in the buttery folds of your arms.
I used to complain that your shoulder was too
bony to lean on, but I’d give anything now to
catch the scent of home under the gentle
curve of your ear: not the musty smell of old
people like I teased you about, but cinnamon
and blueberry scones.

I’m sitting on the other side of the fireplace.
You haven’t looked up in the last minute, or
the minute before, or hours ago when I first
claimed grandpa’s La-Z-Boy. I sit here most
of the time now, but it hasn’t lost the sweet
perfume of chocolate bits grandpa always
had tucked up his sleeve. Knitting isn’t my
forte: I have a tangle of yarn and needles
squeezed up against my chest. I’ll be
staying a little while, waiting for you to
teach me what to do with this mess.