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Poem: Hands

From our poet of the month: Andrea Potos

Woman's hands knitting

Getty/xuanhuongho

“she showed me what she knew— / how to settle alongside lamplight / and fill my lap with skeins”

Hands

I am crocheting 
another shawl, three stitches 
my Yaya taught me
when I was nearly a teen,
she showed me what she knew—
how to settle alongside lamplight
and fill my lap with skeins,
soft acrylics we liked the best.
We followed the paths 
of yarn unwinding through
and back, in and 
around, row after row for the lengthening,
thoughts rinsed inside the flow
and transferred to the hands that create.

From Mothershell by Andrea Potos. ©Andrea Potos and reprinted by permission of Kelsay Books.

Listen to Andrea Potos read 'Hands.'

Andrea Potos shared her insight with S&H:

For me, crocheting is a practice in slowing down and stilling the mind.  

My beloved maternal grandmother Yaya (“grandmother” in Greek) was a master of the fiber arts—sewing, needlework, crocheting, embroidering. We marvelled at the beauty she was constantly creating! Early on, I learned from her how to crochet a few different stitches. I have treasured the skill since then. To make something soft and pleasing, the simplest shawl (which is what I usually like to do) makes me think of her, appreciate the past, and the present moment where I live.


About the Author

Andrea Potos

Andrea Potos is the author of nine poetry collections, including Mothershell (Kelsay Books), A Stone to Carry Home (Salmon Poetry), and Arrows of Light (Iris Press). Her poems have been published widely in print and online, including in The Sun, Poetry East, Peacock Journal, and gratefulness.org. Traveling, art, and family give Andrea the greatest inspirations for her work.  She can usually be found in cafes, writing by longhand, using notebooks with creamy and smooth pages.  She lives in Madison, Wisconsin. 

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