Which My Legs Are Accepted

By Kathleen Fraser


How we have suffered each other,

never meeting the standards of magazines

or official measurements.

I have hung you from trapezes,

sat you on wooden rollers,

pulled and pushed you

with the anxiety of taffy,

and still, you are yourselves!

Most obvious imperfection, blight on my fantasy life,



never to be skinny

or even hinting of the svelte beauties in history books

or Sears catalogues.

Here you are—solid, fleshy and

white as when I first noticed you, sitting on the toilet,

spread softly over the wooden seat,

having been with me only twelve years,

yet as obvious as the legs of my thirty-year-old gym teacher.


Oh that was the year we did acrobatics in the annual gym show.

How you split for me!

One-handed cartwheels

from this end of the gymnasium to the


ending in double splits,

legs you flashed in blue rayon slacks my mother bought for the


and though you were confidently swinging along,

the rest of me blushed at the sound of clapping.


How I have worried about you, not able to hide you,

embarrassed at beaches, in high school

when the cheerleaders’ slim brown legs

spread all over

the sand

with the perfection

of bamboo.
I hated you, and still you have never given out on me.

With you

I have risen to the top of blue waves,

with you

I have carried food home as a loving gift

when my arms began un-

jelling like madrilène.

Legs, you are a pillow,

white and plentiful with feathers for his wild head.

You are the endless scenery

behind the tense sinewy elegance of his two dark legs.

You welcome him joyfully

and dance.

And you will be the locks in a new canal between continents.

The ship of life will push out of you 55

and rejoice

in the whiteness,

in the first floating and rising of


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