A Poem by AR Dugan

Automatic Knitting



My mom sits, does it

without thinking cast on

while doing other things

slip one, knit two. I watch as

she tears it out. Starts over

cast on, back loop, slip, slip, slip.

I want to ask why, but I can’t.

She seems to prefer starting over

to finishing—the journey to the

destination continue, purl through

back loop. I think, maybe chasing handspun

perfection is the product—the only one

that matters anyway stockinette

stich, reverse, repeat. Couldn’t be

the few hand-knit clothes I had.

By not asking out loud, I’ve become a participant

through back loop, together, skip, continue.

My ears become her hands, hypnotic rhythm,

as I watch the aluminum needles click.

I think about the mind’s tether,

our hands kept busy escaping.



AR Dugan has an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College. His poetry can be seen or is forthcoming in a number of literary magazines and reviews, most recently Woven Tale Press. He taught high school English in southeastern Massachusetts for nine years. AR reads poetry for Ploughshares and currently teaches literature and writing at Emerson College and Wheaton College. He lives in Boston. ardugan.com


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