Stitches

For Grandma

 

 

The blanket she knit

her hands knowing, counting

purple blue stitches into snowflake reindeer

green white sweaters into striped mittens

a scarf and a hat to match

 

each stitch sliding off the needles fluid, effortless

senseless sitcoms in the background

 

the woman who raised my father

who watched the world changing

(in ninety years a lot changes)

 

knitting a vest for her young son

a cardigan for her husband

 

she watches wars happen

her son grow

grandchildren

computers

 

her needles click

a ball of yarn

transformed

 

alone and strong and peaceful

having perfected her place

 

she accepts life as it comes

grows old matter-of-factly

with blunt acceptance

 

(April 1998)

______________________________

 

In sticky Florida heat

I sit on the floor

wrap gold edged dishes

crystal candy bowls in paper

pack her life into boxes

 

we find a dozen rolls of tape

unused erasers

nylons she never wore

pencil stubs

a bottle of shampoo, unopened 

we find the details of her life

 

in the hospital bed

she looks small

 

beside her 

tea roses (her favorite) spread slowly

in the cool room

 

when I say goodbye the surprising softness

warmth of her forehead against my lips

_________________________________________

 

Now I hold our last conversation

the fisherman sweater

the cardigan with the wood buttons

the little blue booties

 

I wrap myself in a blanket

in the thousands of stitches that slid off her fingers

in the thousands and thousands of stitches that make up a life

 

(August 2002)

 

 

--Jenny Puterman

 

 

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