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‘Grandma’s Hands’

She wore pigskin gloves
so fresh and soft
you could almost hear them squeal
as she rounded a bend,
flicked the giant indicator,
flashed me a grin
with her own white teeth.

We’d drag her squeaking mangle
across the rippled concrete floor
where patiently she’d feed it –
puce slip, cashmere cardi –
like knitted pasta they’d emerge,
corrugated and lifeless,
in need of respiration.

Her fat diamond span
full circle on her skinny bones,
while mulberry polish
on puckered fingertips
twittered and twitched
the nest of needles
that scaffolded a sock.

She could undress
an apple in seconds,
pare the green suit down
in a flash, leave it coiled
at the table’s edge,
my future lover’s initial
exposed by her expert hand.



Lucy Cotteril lives in West Sussex. She recently completed the MA in Creative Writing at the University of Chichester.

This was written in response to an assignment on Claire Askew’s course Creatrix: Women’s Poetries for the 21st Century. I had been collecting a store of images of my grandmother for several years. She was a very busy woman, a great doer of this world, so most of my recollections described her at work, enjoying the everyday activities of her life. The assignment provided the focus to connect them into a coherent whole.”

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Image Credits:

Image credit: Jessie Jacobson