The "Do You Have Lots of Faults Too?" Issue




Hanging on crutches at my screened back door,
I spot my paper lying in the grass
and hope my balance isn't lost before
some neighbor jogs or walks a poodle past.
To fetch my paper isn't all that hard
to ask, but who will pick my ripening figs?
The distance to my tree, across the yard,
might just as well be here to Alpha Cyg.
Some mornings it's as if I'm three years old,
my parents sleeping off a drunk in bed.
The stove's off-limits, so my cocoa's cold;
I want to hear the Sunday funnies read.
Dear Lord, forgive me my impatient soul.
Remind me I was never in control.


One death–defying moment as you leap
into the shower on your one good leg,
then plop your fanny on the molded seat:
an aircraft landing on an ocean deck.
Your throne of fiberglass was just a shelf
to store shampoo and Daisy razors on
until the moment that some evil elf
cursed you, and your good health was gone.
Your bad leg wrapped in plastic garbage bags,
you think of youthful showers that were fun,
when lovers scrubbing you with terry rags
got some parts cleaner than some other ones,
then took you up against the bathroom wall
oblivious to the knowledge of a fall.


At first I cried hot tears of self-defeat,
unable to move plates or silverware
on crutches: chicken gravy everywhere,
my hand burned, from attempting to reheat
a frozen dinner. What was I to eat?
Like Tantalus among the dangling pears,
I'd starve. But then I pushed a sturdy chair
into the kitchen like a mercy seat
into the Temple Sanctum. Now I hop
from microwave to Hoosier cabinet, sliding
Stouffer's tray along the counter top,
then range top, top of trashcan, airborne gliding
arc to Hoosier pull-out shelf . . . One blink,
and it's amazing how a world can shrink.


You can't help clicking on those videos
in which an injured hawk or cub or whale
gets driven to its native range or coast
and liberated from its healing jail,
although you know the critter will not stir
for what seems all damn morning as you wait
impatiently before your monitor
and curse the friend who posted cuteness bait.
Finally, some action—but it circles back
to where it was released. "No, dummy, no!"
you shout at it. Released from knee-length cast
and crutches just a few short days ago,
you took your backyard birds a cup of seed,
then limped indoors again to write and read.