The gift skipped over me and went to her.
My daughter and my mother knit together,
their foreheads furrowed in the family frown
of concentration as the yarn unwinds.
I look up from my book to where they’re sitting
side by side on the sofa, fingers flitting
birdlike over two fields—one purple heather,
the other pieced and plotted, cream and brown.
Rapt in their wordlessness, I set it down.
They too are reading, dreaming, left to right,
my daughter and my mother—knit together
by rows they cast and bind off, fold and fallow,
yellow and gold, fringed purses, fingerless gloves
threaded with lace, a worsted winter cap.
My child who loved this thing my mother loves
even at three, when frowning on her lap
she learned to hold the needles, now can follow
patterns and wear the scarves I left unfinished.
Over their shoulders snow is thickly falling,
true to predictions.
Somewhere, later on,
I’ll watch my daughter bending in the lamplight
(making, maybe, a sweater for her child),
and see, while squares of color blend and blur,
my mother’s bent head through the lamplit window
from where I’m playing kickball on the lawn,
the skein of time still seeming undiminished,
and she not gone.
—Catherine Tufariello (Porter County)
This poem originally appeared in Mezzo Cammin. A native of Buffalo, New York, Catherine Tufariello lives in Valparaiso, Indiana, where she directs a reflective reading program for medical professionals at Valparaiso University’s Center for Civic Reflection. Her first book of poems, Keeping My Name, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and won the 2006 Poets’ Prize.