Leashes stretch from her hands in ruddy colours.
Head bent she takes stabs at a flaggy fleece,
pricks and probes.
She wields a small metallic rod,
curled at one end,
miniature bill blunted for girls’ hands.
Despite her attempts to subdue
a mangled triangle grows slowly.
Its twin stains the floor.
The eyeless needle delves in, pulls out.
Between her fingers trail
thin ribbons, bloodless arteries.
Clammy hands drag loop through loop,
stitch curly hieroglyphs, each row
a protocol of checks and curbs.
From patterns written in a secret alphabet
she casts spells beyond her years:
chain, cross, lover’s knot.
In time stray threads ensnare and enmesh,
cast snakes down her lap,
ripples on floor.
Reds, pinks and blues entwine -
her heart in her hands
contracts and expands.
Every stitch unties a knot.