‘The Aran’ by Anna Wigley

The Aran
This woman’s hands recall her grandmother’s:
a pair of billing doves, crouched close
in her lap, weaving wool in their beaks.

The threads are thick as twine and oiled
good as a seagull’s weatherproof.
On rainy coastal walks they will hold out.

Under her darting fingers the twisting ribs
cable down like currents in rivers,
the broad ropes of fast-running water.

Heavy as a corpse it will be, this sweater.
Already it slumps at her feet like a dead man
whose lungs are sodden sponges.

She patterns for her own pleasure;
tapestries from this coarse, dun stuff
a rune of insinuating roads and ribbons.

Each garment is still its own signature.
But now no-one will know the owner
by his woollen markings. Her grandmother

knitted shrouds for unlucky sailors,
each man’s name wrung from the briny stitches
when a storm took his face and changed it.

(from The Bird Hospital, Gomer Press 2002).

Anna Wigley is a poet and short story writer living in Cardiff.  She has had four books published by Gomer.  Her blog is annawigley.blogspot.com