A grey woman, who should be sitting in a rocking chair,
sits instead on a straight-backed stool, her eyes closed,
knitting a scarf – yellow and blue, my first school colours.
I sit on the floor, watching as it grows, listening
to the click of the needles and the tick of a clock
echoing from an empty room at the front of the house.
She knits fast, but the scarf grows faster, billowing
in coils at her feet, crawling higher like morning mist
until it drapes my shoulders, caresses my throat.
Faster it grows, probing my mouth, snaking inside,
down to my guts, warming my belly, then nudging up
into my head, implacably pushing from my ears and nose.
There’s a gentle tickling growing behind my eyes before
it slips under my prickling lids. The needles now move
on their own, the stool stands empty. I turn to the window:
the last thing I see is the woman, framed in a small yard,
her eyes still closed, her face raised to the sun, flapping
her floral apron, casting crumbs, or seeds, to swooping crows.
Oz Hardwick is a York-based writer, photographer and occasional musician. He has been published widely in the UK, Europe and US. His sixth poetry collection, The House of Ghosts and Mirrors, will be published by Valley Press in September 2017. www.ozhardwick.co.uk