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In the dark, this body breathes

into itself, the half with less

sensation, the half that feels it all.

I exhale the word hemiplegia,

my personal equator. For here,

with this particular floor

holding me up, division is gone.

During the butterfly stretch,

my husband had invaded

my thoughts. I felt that pull

in my inner thighs

and realized he's the one

who seems numb now.

We moved into cobra then,

my chest so open I saw my heart

on its axis and turned it.

In a room full of strangers

curved into upward waves,

I said goodbye.

SISTER HANDS has been previously published in Wordgathering.


Ona Gritz's books include the poetry collections, Geode, a finalist for the Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award, and Border Songs: A Conversation in Poems, written with her husband Daniel Simpson. Her poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Catamaran Literary Reader, The Bellevue Literary Review, Beauty Is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability, and elsewhere. She and Daniel served as poetry editors for Referential Magazine and co-edited More Challenges For the Delusional, a writing guide and anthology featuring prompts by Peter Murphy. Ona is also a children's author and essayist. Her nonfiction is listed among Notables in Best American Essays and Best Life Stories in Salon.

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