20 Knots


It is a teeth clenched whiskey drenched failing peripheral vision night.  In their slow swing, the stars, softened by suburban light, veered briefly into lines by the merest tilt, do gently dot.  I press this knot against marlinespike to break and roll and work the bond away.  It is piled, and the source, the standing end, every bight is the same, a long night from coil, a wretched mess of fray.

And yet I work, and yank and pull and splay.  This tiny knotted world could be spread for miles on the ill-kept lawn, a yawning sprawling web, twisted yarns wrapped in knitted nylon casing.  There is no source to seek, there is only the unraveling.  No end-point except a straight line, to be caught again and hauled and coiled and kept with a gasket, and hung for some time on a timber until usefulness can again apply.  But there is no use in this tangle, and this tangle is my work.

Here are knots I did not tie, unwieldy, staggering, grotesque folds of line with no meaning.  Here are the half-slung hitches I attempted to preempt the mess, here are kinks where others, weaving, working with meaning, bent their intent to my progress.  Here are the whorls kept in a pack for too long and allowed to wander.

It is nocturnal work, to yank and pull and wonder, and tease out each trailing thread.  And spread it here in the grass, in the yawning dawn, the damp taut chattering morning, and watch it contract and ball, and pick my starting point for tomorrow.

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