“The MFA Thesis Sock Knitting” by Doreen Stumborg

Stare numbly at the screen as the computer,
interminably slow, warms up. Needles and yarn sit
on my desk within my peripheral vision,
visible comfort every morning when I push the button.
Cast on sixty-four, type the password, knit a row
while recalling what I named the last draft.
Waiting for the doc to arise out of the mass
of numerous files saved in MFA Thesis—pick one.
Over the course of writing and waiting to write,
a sock is born, developing stitch by orderly stitch

and row by row.

The thesis develops word by word
in disorderly lines, digitally hidden, aloof,
uncompromising, in danger of disappearing or
devoured by virus gremlins.
The sock sits there for all to see that yesterday
something was accomplished—the day before, too,
and the day before that, growing by rows and inches
gradual colour changes appear.
Knit two, purl two, the sock develops a cuff.
Write a sentence, slip a word;
The artist’s statement stews
in perpetual complexity; read another book,
discover an issue, find a different angle to pursue;
realize the last three hours are worked on the wrong draft.
The sock’s life needs only simplicity; slip a stitch, a few short-rows,
a heel forms, then instep shaping—
the foot doesn’t change, the pattern meanders,
crossing cables over and under, the design becomes

a matrix of overlying, underlying arches and columns.

Randomly, the thesis changes,
becomes a mass of tangled threads and themes—
where it starts, where it ends, where it middles
is anybody’s cut and paste guess.
Not so the sock, it develops a toe.
After months of mornings
of turning the computer on,
knitting instead of waiting,
the sock is definite. Definite and done.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s