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. 




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