When Gregory talks about knitting, I hide in my skin. He mumbles “loopty-loop” and “my fingers are busy.” I tell myself how easy it is to whip up miles of knots, be a cat–man tangled in string in the sunny window.
“Doesn’t this pattern just scream vintage?” Gregory says.
I am elbow-deep in dirty dishes, so what I hear is “I am going to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge.” I grin, imagining he could never die with all that yarn to string him up, twirling him like an eternal Pinocchio.
The children scream for him, “Daddy, Daddy, look at my cat’s cradle.” Lola smiles. “Daddy, Daddy, look at my Jacob’s ladder.” Lyla giggles. How did we wind up a family making meaning of tangle and untangle?
I am wearing socks Gregory knitted for me. I don’t want to knit. I don’t want to make the lines cross neatly in little magic patterns. But my slip knot braid lays down my back, a heavy reminder that I am all tangle, from my hair to my spine to my double helix DNA.
Instead, from the kitchen window, above the bubbles and grime, the untended yard melts into a vast ocean, the fence a new horizon.
I see a boat rushing out to sea. I am on the tall creamy vessel, holding a fishhook against my finger. I can do this in the dark. I wind the polymer line, passing it between thumb and forefinger, round and round six or eight times. I push the tag line through and tug the knot down until it kisses the hook. With my clinch, I’ll bring home a silver gift with delicate bones.
The children scream.
“It’s knotted, Daddy.”
“Help me make it pretty.”
My dreamy ocean spins down the drain in a miniature cyclone. I wash the hungry knives.
I’m wearing the first socks Gregory ever made. My feet are threaded over in a spectrum of blues, cerulean to navy-sunset, and are very warm.
Amanda Chiado’s poem “Armor” is part of the 2019 Visible Poetry Project, animated by Marc Burnett. She is the author of the chapbook Vitiligod: The Ascension of Michael Jackson (Dancing Girl Press, 2016). Her poetry and short fiction appears or is forthcoming in Entropy, Cheap Pop, Paper Darts, Best New Poets, Witness, Cimarron Review, Fence, and It Was Written: Poetry Inspired by Hip Hop, among others. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart & Best of the Net. She is the Director of Arts Education at the San Benito County Arts Council, is an active California Poet in the Schools, and edits for Jersey Devil Press. Find her online at www.amandachiado.com.