Ode to my left arm

Oh you limb of slowly honed strength

Whom I’d not imagined could be natural for me,

With your resilient contours and enduring capacity,

Reveal the oft-hidden truth that life forges.

As day in and out, you chiseled away my craving for self

-sufficiency (and those other self-words like ‘-directed’, ‘-agentic’, and ‘-made’)

illusions of maturity

No, it was the ones dependent on you for nurture and comfort,

Who year after year you gathered and carried,

That sculpted these graces unrealized, but buried inside the clay.


Oh you non-dominant one,

Content to let the other appendage believe she was more agile

With her blatant abilities to write and to cut and to throw

while you performed these lesser-than, drawing-in duties-

Support and balance and holding

Unnoticed and underappreciated.

You gorgeous limb, like these great trees whose branches you share 

(which in this moment are silently giving, unseen, this air that I breathe)

You offer your vital, life-giving  service

In this cradling to breast or to hip.



Oh you who lie close, connected to my heart

Radiating this pain when it breaks

I have not honored your place in my being,

All these years believing you were inconsequentially weak,

With your station and status hindering my reach

And your attachment encumbering my fulfillment.

But lo, resting this evening, with this late light filtering

Through the prism of autumn limbs, my gaze is at last is drawn

to your form, its remarkable structure

enhanced by this sculpting of the heart


Oh, you phenomenal arm, incarnating, expressing love,

As you touch and you gather, embrace and release,

What greater endowment than this

One you have crafted unknowingly

From such mundane ministrations, uncontrived and unfettered,

Instinctual movements of grace.

Reverently now I enfold you with this long overdue regard

Your dominance not in the realm of control, your legacy not one of power

Far more primal and potent than these

You foster my soul’s becoming























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