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Legs Ode.

 After they opened my flank up, and chopped down the femur, and
into its marrow-hole drove the leg of the metal joint, and closed the
book of my flesh, and sewed it shut, they said Don't cross your
legs, you could dislocate the new hip-- and if you do, you will know it,
that leg will be four or five inches longer than the other, and the pain
will make childbirth seem like nothing. So, for six months, I did not
make that first braid of the caduceus, I gave up the deployment, the
flash of the seated entrechat, I did not throw one leg over the other
leg's line, in thrilling enjambment. I had not known how vain I was
of my gams, until I had to still them--no semaphoric waving, no Rockette
Rockette-flanked. But at last I could not resist, and like a happy
sadist uncoiling her lustrous bullwhip, and flicking it out, I unleashed
my soft weapons, again, as if their length was a gift of extra time on
earth. And as the live dough of my loaves, my raw baguettes, rolled out
and snapped back, as my fish leapt and dove into the water again, as my
trained Lipizzaners curvetted, I felt like someone whom a regime has not
allowed to pray now folding her hands, fervent unfolding and folding.
What is self-esteem? The last time my mother beat me, she could not beat
me, because she could not catch me--I ran from her, and when she
cornered me, I looked down, and saw the top of her head, as if the
prayers of all those years had been answered, I'd been lifted up,
and up, above her, on the stilts of my new adolescent legs, I would
never wrap them around her waist again and my arms around her sides,
sobbing to be taken back, when she'd broken my spirit once more,
pulled its pestle out of the mortar of my life. Whooosh!
  I whirl my living sword, she can never go back to that eden. 
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Author:Olds, Sharon
Publication:Prairie Schooner
Article Type:Poem
Date:Jun 22, 2012
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