Rebecca Foust

Wild Swan

What I knit at night
unravels each dawn,
yarn slipping like smoke
from the day’s
bright needles. A prince
once was a boy,
a swan, my autistic son.
It burns, it burns,
his garment of nettle,
his singlet of stars.
The night cries
are feral and awful;
my hours are
cloistered with wool.
I make the knots faster
and faster, knowing what
morning will bring:
from his lips, one white
crescent pinfeather;
under the counterpane,
his shining wing.


Rebecca Foust
“Wild Swan” first appeared under the title “His Garment of Nettle,” in The Pedestal Magazine, “Wild Swan” Issue, No. 50, April 2009.