The contraption was the bare bones
a rainbow – a wire curve
with the requisite primary colors
(plastic rings piled up
where the pot-o-gold should be).
The goal was to move,
the red ring, the yellow, the orange –
the whole reduced spectrum –
one by one, one-handed.
I watch one stroke victim cheat,
carry orange and yellow in one swoop
over the wire bell-shaped curve.
Hard to tell
whether her good arm was tired
of being good. Or, if it hurt to cradle
the crumpled one to her chest.
Cheating a choice I now understand.
Today is not about the reach;
it was about standing,
staying balanced, building
stamina for discrete tasks.
Such has been my life.
Yours too perhaps.
Balanced tasks within reach.
Familiar arc over and over.
With whichever limb works.
You can tell I’m aging.
We all were. The room was full.
Some lifted 4-pound bars
as if oars. No lake. No shore.
Only the motion and count.
Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.
Working our way to release –
counting the repetitions needed
to earn a ticket out of rehab,
a wheelchair ride back to a bed.
Everyone stopped -- oar bar mid-air,
orange ring mid-arc – when the hoist
yanked Mrs. X’s three harnesses.
She was on her feet. First time
in two years. Praise the block-n-pulley.
Now what? Her intestine unfolding,
stretching itself, reaching out.
Her mind, of course, couldn’t untwist.
Her retelling not following a plot
curve. No resolution to this crisis
We can say it. Upstanding folks
allowing a public nod to decline.
The exit path wheels past
display cases. Curio collections
(small subsets of our full finery
our long-gone showroom homes)
out of reach. Forever.