Saturday 24 June 2023

'A skein of yarn' by Maria Thomas

She’s unravelling the sweater when she begins to notice strange knots and kinks along the lines of yarn. As she unhooks the stitches and slides lengths free from their woollen net, she can feel patterns and runes in the threads and her mind drifts back to a wood-polished church hall, the scratch of starched polyester in military blue, the scent of Victoria Sponges and Bakewell Tarts, of learning morse code and semaphore, and signalling in smoke and drumbeats. She is sure the yarn is telling her something – I’m here, I’m still here.

The thread is as soft and pink as candyfloss, which makes the knots and kinks more noticeable, and she tries to ignore the letters as she winds the yarn around her fingers, pulling the sweater loose, so it looks less and less like a torso, less like a child.

I’m still here, I’m not going anywhere – she reads, as she twists the yarn into a skein.

I’ll always be here – she hears, as she coils the skein into a hank.

I miss you – she divines as the sweater shrinks from full stomached, to barrel chested, to soft sleeved, slim shouldered, thin collared, nothing.

She slips an elastic band around the hank to secure it and adds it to the box with the others. A sunrise of blush, rose, fuchsia, flamingo, magenta, shocking pink fills the casket, and she places the lid gently on top of the remains of her daughter’s knitwear.

I miss you too, she thinks, as she places the box in the craft cupboard and shuts the door softly, like a tomb closing. I miss you too.


  1. A beautifully woven story

  2. A beautiful tender bittersweet story. My favourite of those I've read in this year's Flash Flood.


Congratulations to our 2023 Best Small Fictions Nominees!

We are delighted to nominate the following 2023 FlashFlood stories to the Best Small Fictions Anthology: ' I Once Swallowed a Rollercoas...