For Ruth Ella Hendricks
She sits and knits.
Every stitch a tie,
the clicking needles
move her mind
down the track
Across the anxious plains
she covers the distance with sweaters,
the past safely blanketed in wool.
Over under over under.
Glorious babies arrive, grandchildren to fill the mittens,
to sport Batman and Superman hats.
She sits and knits, life swirling around her.
Anna at the piano regal in a softly cascading wrap.
Over under worries fade.
She stitches together communities.
High school teenagers, even boys, ask—
She awakens what they have in them,
cheers them as they display their handiwork
before the world.
Over under the world keeps spinning.
In cities she visits yarn shops
popping with color and possibility,
forming a weave of memory,
like the day in Philadelphia she now wears
on her feet in a pair of Monet-colored socks.
Over under the country unraveling,
the old anxiety returning,
she sits and knits pink hats
for a new generation of women marching.
A sister, a daughter, some fortunate friends
take this gift handed down from grandmothers
and try to rebind the frayed threads of the republic,
arms linked over under, over under.
With the sisters and daughters and mothers she has clad,
she knits and knits.
Copyright 2019 Roberta HatcherRoberta Hatcher is the author ofFrench Lessons.