In the house off Constant Spring Road, the one
with the short spreading Julie mango tree  
in the front yard, the lime tree  
with their dark green leaves and delicate  
white flowers; the palm-sized  
burnt orange hibiscuses,  
poisonous butter yellow allamandas,  
I remember, I remember,  
how my mother’s hands kept moving  
as she produced one white crochet doily after another.
The slender silver hook and the fragile symmetry.
A Ford Escort was parked in the garage of that house.
Oil-slicked men tried stealing that powder blue
Ford Escort one night as we slept uneasily in the house—
Discussions began immediately about leaving 
one i/land for another. The fat  
balls of thread in my mother’s lap, at her feet,
those threads already unspooling, connecting one
memory, one life, one distant country to another.


Copyright © 2024 by Jacqueline Bishop. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 14, 2024, by the Academy of American Poets. 

About this Poem

“Research informs my creative process and vice versa. Presently, I am researching the needlework practices of my birth country of Jamaica. This research is informed by a great-grandmother and grandmother who were excellent patchwork makers, and my mother who made crochet so magnificent that she sold them. My mother would eventually migrate from Jamaica to the United States, where we children would join her later. In this poem, my mother’s doilies become a connective thread between Jamaica and the United States; therein, I layer many of the reasons as to why we had to leave Jamaica.”
—Jacqueline Bishop