Fingered Lace

My mother’s new snowsuit 
got caught on a fence 
that she was not meant to climb over 
in much the same way 
that Rapunzel’s mane 
stuck like ivy to the brick of her tower. 
My mother’s mother saw her 
and raced her to the front door; 
where, caught, 
the other mother 
felt her stomach 
tie itself into a knot. 
The older mother won the race 
and put the younger mother in her place. 
This is the circuit that I trace— 
I, who wasn’t made then, 
who wasn’t even a loop on my mother’s finger. 
I am still trying to catch them up. 

Little Red Herring

I don’t know why they took the prom-night picture like that: 
coveralled grandpop squeezed into a corner by the fridge, 
mum perched obliquely across his lap. 
Long white gloves lapped at her elbows. 
Roses swam in his eyes. 
In a left-hand window, a bone-coloured moon was on the rise. 
There’s a herringbone stitch called 
jump from one line to the next, 
in which the nineteen-nineties succeed the nineteen-sixties, 
and a thirty-year patch 
of angular open-work 
separates the lines with an X. 
I was born into that gap 
and lapped ceaselessly 
at a shoreline 
that was not mine and was forbidden to me: 
the coast of family. 
There can be no comparing of families, no choosing between; 
even to fit into one 
I would need to have been 
as thin as a fish, and neat and mean. 


Erin Scudder is completing an MA in Literature at Victoria University. Her short fiction has appeared in Damki magazine (Osaka, Japan), she has published essays on the work of NZ artists Fitts & Holderness and Cat Simpson, and she is writing her first book of poetry.

‘Fingered Lace’ and ‘Little Red Herring’ are forays into the (newly established) genre of crochet poetry. Crochet poems are slight, fairytalish, and full of escape routes. They might also involve time slips, loopholes, and stitches that haven’t quite been invented yet.