Begets Sweater Begets Rapture
By Suzannah Showler
Despite its name, the "sweater
curse" is treated in knitting
literature not as a superstition
governed by paranormal forces, but
rather as a real-world pitfall of
knitting that has real-world
explanations and solutions. -Wikipedia
entry for “The Sweater Curse”
The Rapture Index is by no means
meant to predict the rapture,
however, the index is designed to
measure the type of activity that
could act as a precursor to the
* * *
We spent all
summer sucking face,
camped out in eddies of green knotted into
tourists nearby snap-shooting
their best faces into place.
We didn't have much to do. We kept busy
reaching out to one another like a body
is a problem worth getting to the bottom of.
The days were hot and amphibious: air seemed
as easy to drink as it was to breathe.
Wherever we were going, we arrived
half-sun-stroked, frail cotton clothes
soaked through. It's weird how lips don't
It was too hot to say the word wool.
I knit for you in secret, at night, while
threw back the day's catch of heat. My
kept splicing strands, stitches clawing over
one another as though fighting for survival
in a primordial stink, multiplying like
That summer it was all about the End Times.
Everyone was talking about the Rapture
The churches kept tabs, and the tally ran
They were crunching numbers, studying signs,
guessing what the world's curtain line would
All that weather: tsunamis, hurricanes,
the sky like frosted glass from ash sent up
by arctic volcanoes. (Core-shaken, hurling
my molten insides, I related to the latter.)
Starlings fell from the skies in the
wet and deliberate, landing like they'd been
chucked there by a pitching machine.
There was the economy and all its failures,
slip-ups greasy as the continent of oil
that flooded a whole Gulf's meniscus.
Should we have taken the prophecies to
Probably. But our own rapture was more
The newspapers and the radio hummed,
but you and I had a lot of making out to do.
Remember, too, that I was addled
from a lack of sleep: my vision often
and I saw two of you.
The prophets had promised fire, but there
was only light
so strong it made a sound, a high thrumming
in the chopstick-thin bones in my hands.
The light was encouraging. It bred excess,
the smallest things spawning fastest.
A mat of bacteria unfurled over lawns
and sidewalks, licked the edges of buildings
the off-white colour of someone's sick
I saw a mouse the size of a beach ball
wade into the river and swim
Hair became a skein overnight,
strangled the first casualties in their
Fingers and toes sprung out like divining
Everyone's centre of gravity migrated
The sweater I was knitting spread out
like an old tattoo made awry by weight gain.
I thought that I would have something new to
about all of it. Or about anything, really,
but the light cleaved spaces between things,
pushed my thoughts apart like venetian
turning outward. I couldn't even remember
Time slowed like a game show wheel ticking
each moment lingering a little longer,
to be the last stop.
No one could say when the sun had last set.
One long day spread like a bleeding
So, this is how the world ends:
By not ending at all.
There is only more and more
and more of what we already have.
I knit like it could conjure a heartbeat.
I didn't count. I couldn't see the end.