If the phone rings don’t answer it

Magdalena Ball


The day I pretended to learn to knit

my mother-in-law trained chilblain

fingers to cast-on, blue skin against the

click clack of metal needles


I didn’t tell her that my aunt already

knitted heaven and earth

was paid in silver dollars and rum

laughing like a pirate sailing the mobius strip


until the day the phone stopped ringing

those newspaper men, always pushing you

against the wall, pulling out too late, cutting back

paring plummy prose into tidy stockinette


my mother kept her loops small

I called it an uncertainty, a storm pattern

smooth, hard worn, in silk, mohair and wool


a skin I couldn’t pass on, paca de seda

I went for neutrals myself, watching for signs

greys, beiges, dark brown, with bucolic names like Barn Owl

Wood Dove, Appalachian Stone


as if the country-inspired warmth of that

scarf could provide any protection

wrapped tight against a coming blizzard

when my call finally came.


Magdalena Ball is a novelist, poet, reviewer and interviewer, and is Managing Editor of Compulsive Reader. She is the author of two novels and three poetry books, the most recent of which, Unmaking Atoms, was published in 2017 by Ginninderra Press. She has also co-authored six poetry chapbooks. Visit her at http://www.magdalenaball.com

%d bloggers like this: