They were too poor for buttons, so her mother would collect
cherry stones, apricot kernels or conkers, and would crochet round them.
When she went cleaning she was given cast-off jumpers
which she unravelled and made up again, re-mixed, so Jean
had a cardigan blue as Quink ink, with yellow walnut buttons
and a scarlet rose in a mohair mix, that covered up a hole.
I sat beside Jean in Sunday School, admiring the silver paper
she'd saved from a cigarette packet and used to line her pencil box.
How I liked the lettuce-green of the blanket stitch around her cuffs,
but most of all, I envied her for the magic warts proud on her knuckles.