A quarterly international literary journal

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© 2022 The Plentitudes.
All rights reserved.

The Plentitudes is a quarterly international literary journal founded in New York City.

Each issue showcases a selection of captivating stories, essays, and poetry from diverse voices. 

Penelopiad



By S.J. Pearce


/ Poetry /

Cast on fifteen stitches in tiny yarn:

gauge-one needles, a millimeter thick,

and knit yourself an amulet: a scarf

that you will never finish.


Gauge-one needles, a millimeter thick,

are no threat to aviation security.

But you will never finish;

and through your travels it will protect you.


It’s no threat to aviation security,

so take it with you when you go, where you go

and through your travels it will protect you.

Knit, unknit, rip back, keep knitting.


Take it with you when you go, where you go.

You and no agent will do the unknitting.

Knit, unknit, rip back, keep knitting

until you like it better that way.


You and no gent will do the unknitting

at the checkpoint where points are a threat.

You like it better that way.

Slide the stiches off the needles.


At the checkpoint, a point is a threat.

Tension increases and stitches grow smaller.

Slide the stitches off the needles.

What are you doing? Protecting yourself.


Tension increases and stitches grow smaller

It’s a stranger sitting next to you who asks

what you are doing. Protecting yourself:

Rip back, keep knitting, don’t look up, keep knitting.


It’s stranger, sitting next to you,

knitting always along the way.

Rip back, keep knitting, don’t look up, keep knitting.

Incomplete, it’s always an excuse.


Knitting always along the way, those

short, small, tense, repeating stripes.

Incomplete, there’s always an excuse.

Thousands of repeats to surround your neck.


Short, small, tense, repeating stripes

against constricting questions from the middle seat

Thousands of repeats to surround your neck

and dampen the sound of unwelcome conversation.


Constricting questions about the Middle East:

Loops of yarn form fā’, qāf, mīm, wāw

and dampen the sounds of unwelcomed consonants

in the books that I packed away.


Loops of yarn form qāf, wāw, mīm, yā’,

curling up qawmī, my nation, hidden

in the books that I packed away,

under an English Bible to deflect.


Qawmī, my nation, hidden:

letters in order, in knitted stripes

under an English Bible to deflect

the x-irradiation of blunt needles and Arabic books


Letters in order, in knitted stripes,

then loops slid off needles and words erased

The ex-irradiation of blunt needles and Arabic books:

dark and light, light and dark.


Then: loops slid off needles and words erased

Now everything, add anger

Light and dark, dark and light.

The stripes stack up until you tear them back again.


Now everything is a danger:

they are real and you imagined.

The stripes stack up until you tear them back again,

protecting yourself from false security.


Ephemeral, and you imagined

fifteen stitches cast on in tiny yarn:

Protect yourself from false security

and knit yourself an amulet that you will never finish.

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