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.
Click to hear this poem out loud.
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.