New Welsh Review

Sandy’s Wools

Poem by Jessica Mayhew about continuity, knitting and fish

PUBLISHED ON: 28/03/23


TAGS: birds, continuity, craft, fish, grief

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I am visiting your wool shop, even though the men
hunched in their coats like herons outside
are here to buy fishing tackle. Even though you’re dead.

Rods clipped in place quiver slightly, wellies,
barbed hooks, binoculars in army green
and me – a long-necked wader in the reeds.

Beside framed photographs of the biggest catch,
someone speaks of cutting their hand on glass
badly, and stitching the wound with line,

waves a crooked white scar. I know you’d
have better sewn even through the purl of blood.
I recognise your patience here, knitting

in tales of chill mornings, breath smoking,
long before dog walkers or swimmers,
one lone coot pondering above the flood,

the same as rhythmic loops thumbed,
coaxing row on row, the way we yearn
to keep this going, bind what’s gone before.


Jessica Mayhew is the author of two poetry pamphlets, Someone Else’s Photograph and Amok. Her most recent full-length poetry collection, Longship, won the Melita Hume Prize. Her short stories, poetry, and essays have appeared in Stand, Ambit and the Interdisciplinary Literary Studies journal, among others.