Grandmothers’ Sweaters


I never met one of my grandmothers,

Or maybe once, but before memory.

I have a sweater that she knitted

For my dad when he was younger

Than I am now. It’s the only material

Thing I have from her,

And I’m wearing it today because I’m cold.

It’s made of thick wool and is off-white,

Yellowing, frizzled. It has long cuffs,

a massive hood—I had to change the zipper,

but the rest Is original, a labour of her hands.

I met my other grandmother

And knew her well,

Well, as well as one can

within the secret histories

of age and difference.

When she was already losing touch,

Falling into past memories,

ambivalently resentful and resigned,

I took her shopping—

Well she took me—

And we bought a sweater.

I’m wearing it now underneath my other grandmother’s,

Because I’m cold.

It’s brown and modern

But its wooden buttons appealed to my grandmother,

“I think I’ll buy one for your uncle too.”

“That’s a very thoughtful idea bubby, but I don’t think it’s his style.”

Oct 27th, 2017