New Gansey – by Beth McDonough


My big head grumbles hard
pushes at the escape hole’s
tight, into sofa yarning patter.

A crew neck, just
cast off. Mum nods through
gauzy moss stitch. Enough
for growth. That halo’s taut
will give a bit. Who wants
some slop-shape, spoiled
in no time? But already crossed

I raglan arms, point fingers.
Itch inside the woolly beast. Itch. Itch.
Pals don shop-bought sweaters.
Jerseys. They don’t trip on
bumpy rugs, slumped on
lumpen ganseys. No-one else has
ganseys pressing now, all fillings
butted by Dad’s Heralds, all completed crosswords. No.
No-one else has ganseys

Mum gives her one-eye stare.
I scratch my wrists. Force me out. A little bit.



Beth McDonough’s poetry appears in Gutter, Antiphon and elsewhere; she reviews in DURA. Her pamphlet Handfast (2016, with Ruth Aylett, published by Mother’s Milk Books) explores family experiences – Aylett’s of dementia and McDonough’s of autism.

3 thoughts on “New Gansey – by Beth McDonough

  1. i enjoyed this in so many ways… the child’s discomfort, the mother’s unquestionable authority, the envy of the shop-bought jerseys… I feel for this child, although I confess I was that mother.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Funny, true and touching – I suffered ganseys, the worst being for my first day at grammar school. Oh the embarrassment of the home-knit.


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