We begin with a strand of yarn, unfrayed
and loosely tucked. When we hear news of a distant
sadness, the yarn loops into a single knot.
A neighbor moves away, the yarn gathers
more thread. A beloved dog goes to die beneath
the lilac bush, the thread winds around itself,
growing large as a rose bud. Some days, we feel
the ache of the lump. When an old friend dies,
the thread pulls like tightness in the chest
or strings of a cello plucked and nearly broken.
The tangles no longer fit our pocket. We take
their frayed strands in our hands, light as a shawl.
We don’t know how much more they will grow
as we carry them, palms facing up.
My Father’s Hospital Stay
The nurses visit you like priests
offering litanies of Latin cures
and Dixie cups of sacraments
promises of life that are forever
failing while you strain for words,
having lost the strength to hold
a thought, remember today is Sunday,
or the names you knew by heart.
What you know now is this room
of sunless light, its incessant hum
of machines and vining cords, not
the purpling heather in the cool
air or the green scent of trimmed
grass, but this bleached morning,
and the red beat of your heart monitor,
wren’s low chirp in the fields of snow.
January Pearson lives in Southern California with her husband and two daughters. She teaches in the English department at Kaplan University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Gargoyle Magazine, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Watershed Review, Summerset Review, Atlanta Review, Four Chambers Press, Timberline Review, The Chiron Review, Scintilla Press, and Modern Haiku.