Folding by Joanna Lilley

Poem title: Folding
Poet name: Joanna Lilley
Poem: When the telephone rings, I clamp
the receiver between my shoulder and ear
and line up the edges of a discarded napkin.
Listening to the radio news, I concertina
a Home Hardware receipt. I iron handkerchiefs
into hot triangles. I set the wood stove
with folded fans of newsprint. Cat hairs
glide across the waxed oak floor,
the bathroom mirror is blotched. 
I stand at the kitchen window and fold
a yellow tea towel until it is as small as you
once were. I find it on the windowsill
later, as I watch a waxwing eating
mountain ash berries, sprinkling snow.
End of poem. 
Credits and bio: Copyright © Joanna Lilley

Previously published in If There Were Roads, Turnstone Press, 2017.

Joanna Lilley lives in Whitehorse, Yukon, with gratitude on the Traditional Territories of Kwanlin Dün First Nation and Ta’an Kwäch’än Council. Her latest poetry book, Endlings, won the Fred Kerner Book Award; her first poetry book, The Fleece Era, was a finalist for the Fred Cogswell Award for Excellence in Poetry; and her novel Worry Stones was longlisted for the Caledonia Novel Award. Joanna has a master’s degree in creative writing from the Universities of Strathclyde and Glasgow and a postgraduate certificate in creative writing from the Humber School for Writers. Joanna loves sharing the joy of words and has given readings and workshops as far afield as Alaska and Iceland. In 2021, she received Commissioner of Yukon’s Borealis Prize for literary contribution. Find Joanna online at