Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Poem by John W. Sexton

What We Grow Out of Grows Into Us

My favourite jumper was a bright lemon
sleeveless hand-knitted sweater
given to me at the age of four.
(I was four, the sweater was newly-born).

This miraculous garment, more miraculous
than a Miraculous Medal, was teased into existence,
(between two knitting needles made of baleen),
by my baby-sitter Nanny Tyler.

As well as presenting me with this sweater,
Nanny Tyler also gave me a ship in a bottle
which had been made by her son who was a sailor
in the Merchant Marine.

Sadly, the ship in the bottle struck a reef
after slipping from its moorings on top of the television
and sank into a thousand pieces.
(My father must have counted them
for that's what he said had happened.)

The bright lemon sleeveless hand-knitted sweater
remained upon my body for I refused to remove it,
even when taking a bath.
As I grew, the sweater began to penetrate my skin
until it was totally submerged.

It still resides inside me,
now part of the plasticity of my adult frame
and molecularly fused with my body fat.
It was last detected by an ultra-sound scan in 2007.

Amen for my bright lemon
sleeveless hand-knitted sweater.
Amen.  Amen.  Amen.

John W. Sexton lives in the Republic of Ireland and is the author of five poetry collections, the most recent being The Offspring of the Moon (Salmon Poetry, 2013).  He is a past nominee for The Hennessy Literary Award and his poem "The Green Owl" won the Listowel Poetry Prize 2007.  Also in 2007, he was awarded a Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship in Poetry.  His haiku have previously appeared in Acorn, Ginyu, Modern Haiku, Frogpond, Simply Haiku, The Heron's Nest, The 58th Basho Festival Haiku Anthology, bottle rockets, Roadrunner, Chrysanthemum, Moonset, Haiku Scotland, Albatross, paper wasp and World Haiku Review.

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