You are not electricity snaking out
in the moist direction, or a plane speeding
toward flight. You are not even an insect
evading a predator. Instead, you sit
on the floor breathing, because really
there is no choice in this life but to allow
air in and out of your lungs thousands
of times an hour. How are you, I foolishly
asked my grandmother. Well, considering
the alternatives. In an alternative life,
I would be a grandmother now. In this life
I am connected to her past and the little
I remember her cautionary stories
some related to the needle trades, some
for girls who are so easy to ruin. I told
a different set of stories to my daughter
though judging by her reaction
Are you nostalgic for when this
was a bad neighborhood? my words
were just as useless as teaching tales.
When you walk with sticks, the ground
under your feet shifts and slides.
Carol Dorf's poetry appears in "Shofar," "Bodega," "E-ratio," "Great Weather For Media," "About Place," "Glint," "Slipstream," "The Mom Egg," "Sin Fronteras," "Surreal Poetics," "The Journal of Humanistic Mathematics," "Scientific American," and "Maintenant." She is founding poetry editor of Talking Writing and teaches math in Berkeley. She is interested in the intersections between poetry, disability, science and parenting.