Bodyweight

Matthew Schwartz

 
My crutches felt heavier than I was.
They landed with a thick thud on the blacktop
each time I took a step. I had to watch how I walked
so I didnít fall, like the other kids expected.
I liked to leave my crutches half-buried
behind the sandbox, where I couldnít see them,
and creep up the uneven monkey bars
arced like the upper half of a globe.
I wanted to see the whole playground.
The rungs crowded too close together,
and none of them was shaped the same.
I lifted my feet slowly to keep my braces quiet
against the metal. At the top, I could still hear
the jump rope flying, my friend throwing
handfuls of sand. I slipped. I locked my arms
tighter around whatever bars I could reach, and my leg
tensed and shook and hit the rung too close to me
when I tried going down, and my foot shot
through the gap, and dangled there.
I thought I could maybe slide out.
I thought my body could fit like my foot did,
but I was stuck. Everyone could see me,
everyone could hear me asking myself
What do I do with my body if itís
not a secret?
 
From Blessings for the Hands by Matthew Schwartz. Copyright © 2008 by Matthew Schwartz. Used by permission of University of Chicago Press. All rights reserved.

Further Reading

Poems about the Body
A Hand
by Jane Hirshfield
After tagging the dust your body is made of
by Jen Tynes
Anatomy
by Monica Ferrell
Brokeheart: Just like that
by Patrick Rosal
Danse Russe
by William Carlos Williams
Flux
by Afaa M. Weaver
For the Man with the Erection Lasting More than Four Hours
by John Hodgen
Ghost in the Land of Skeletons
by Christopher Kennedy
Guessing My Death [excerpt]
by CAConrad
Headaches
by Marilyn Hacker
homage to my hips
by Lucille Clifton
Human Atlas
by Marianne Boruch
I Sing the Body Electric
by Walt Whitman
In the Surgical Theatre
by Dana Levin
Love Letter to a Stranger
by Jenny Browne
Multiple Man: Guest-starring me & you
by Gary Jackson
My Skeleton
by Jane Hirshfield
Post-Dissertation-Intervention (i.)
by Ronaldo Wilson
Self-Portrait in a Wire Jacket
by Monica Youn
Slight Tremor
by Linda Gregerson
Textbook & Absence (Anatomy)
by Catherine Barnett
The Tongue
by Chris Martin
These Hands, If Not Gods
by Natalie Diaz
With Child
by Genevieve Taggard