Within Close Range: Anita

Anita was one of those agile girls

whose limber and daring I envied.

Her front flips and back flips,

backbends and full splits.

I couldn’t even cartwheel.

I did a competent somersault,

but it garnered little praise.

So, I spent a good deal of time

just laying in the grass.

Observing.

Awed by long, lanky, bendy bodies –

especially Anita’s –

twisting, turning, and taking flight.

Wondering why and how

she could do such things so skillfully,

when those skills so skillfully eluded me.

Or was it the passion to try?

But Anita’s dexterity

defied the norms of stretchability

because Anita added double-jointed

to her impressive athletic ability.

She’d often demonstrate her loose-jointed trait

by bending her willowy hand the wrong way;

masterfully mis-shaping her long, freckled arm,

as if made of soft, moist, modeling clay.

She could do the same with her shoulders and knees

until her bowed silhouette looked strange indeed:

a favorite umbrella blown inside out

by a rib-bending gust in a strong, spring shower.

Illogical and ludicrous.

Almost cartoonish.

Watching her move I felt ever defeated,

disjointed,

dysfunctional.

A dyed-in-the-wool, tried and failed tumbler.

Forever to watch from the shade of a tree,

where I marveled at my elastic friend,

who could bend,

and bend,

and bend,

and bend.

The Girl in the Red Velvet Hat

I saw a girl in a red velvet hat with feathers to one side.
Meeting her eyes, I smiled.
She grinned, but shyly turned her gaze.
So I studied her young silhouette
and thought of long past days.
Of ladies in fabulous hats and fitted suits,
with cigarettes and smart comebacks
for men in Fedoras, white shirts and ties
who secretly longed for the sassy, young ladies
in red, velvet hats with feathers to one side.