Emily Franklin

Tumbling Blocks, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

My Mother’s Shirt

I want back
that shirt you had
plaid like fall and all
worn in because you
wore it so often or
at least in memory
the frequency is weekly
maybe more, maybe only
weekend but every weekend

and what I am probably
saying (and I know this because
of therapy, using what I learned
in that office chair to look at thoughts
that are coming to mind now) is
I want back the shirt and
those weekends that clump
together like helixed skeins
for items we will never knit
and also that you can’t knit
anymore and also I would
want to have your adult
hands on the needles explaining
gauge and tautness—not too tight
you see or you will buckle

so what I want back is most
clearly the shirt but with
both of us in it, but really
all four of us, past you smooth
and dark haired, small me, and
then our current beings all
explaining ourselves, chatter
rising and pecking like finches
stealing yarn for nests they
have already built.

Emily Franklin’s work has been published in The New York Times, Guernica, The Cincinnati Review, New Ohio Review, and Blackbird, as well as featured on NPR and named notable by the Association of Jewish Libraries. Her collection Tell Me How You Got Here was published by Terrapin Books in February 2021.

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Fall 2021