This Is The Life
By Marie Kane
So what if gods, fates, genetic
mysteries haven’t been kind?
We all have our crosses and I don’t
believe in the ecumenical notion
that all crosses are equal so no cosmic deal
with God would allow me
to place someone else here.
Hell, I don’t want to be here.
Lying on the bedroom floor after falling,
thirty minutes pass while I
straighten my spastic legs, roll over on my
stomach, hunch knees and carbon fiber
leg brace under my chest, use my husband’s dresser
to pull myself upright, praying
it doesn’t topple. Sudden realization—
concur, assent, swallow whole. And what if
I choose refusal, opposition,
disagreement, rejection? Now, here are the important
questions: why didn’t I revere running
when I could? Adore pain in calves and shins?
Be smitten with knees that creaked?
Why didn’t I worship the dirty kitchen floor
clean it on hands and workable knees
Rock climb or salsa dance?
My disease raises its head and solemnly
asks the same questions and I want to smack this
betrayal of all things manageable—
using an escalator, turning over in sleep,
standing to make spaghetti sauce.
In my scooter, I could trail my leg brace
behind me as a sea anchor,
sail down mall halls, wave at those too slow
to keep up. “Whee,” I yelp,
halting the contraption to gape at skinny-leg jeans,
red high heels, bikinis,
knowing that before this new life I never
wore them, and wonder why not.
Why ever not.