Full weight bearing

Full
Weight
Bearing
Sounds heavy,
Lumbering,
Strenuous:
Fit for the boxing ring,
Or wrestling arena.

Not for my little leg
With its porcelain skeleton
And hand laced ligaments.

Full
Weight
Bearing:
An axle,
a chassis
For a timber wagon,
Or a quarry truck
Weighed down with
Sharp grey slate or
Smooth sandstone.

Not my tender ankle,
With its tapestry skin
And inflexible attitude.

Full
Weight
Bearing:
The giant in the gym,
Colossus, calmly
Lifting bars of iron and steel
Like strips of cloud and vapour
Above his head

Not me
I cannot bear the weight
Of so many full English breakfasts
And full milk chocolate bars,
With ease.
And I stagger and limp
Under the load
Like an ancient slave,
Carrying the muscle memory
Of feather weight freedom.

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One thousand miles….

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I’ve probably had it before, but cracking open a fortune cookie in a Chinese restaurant last week and reading the aphorism “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”, seemed amusingly apt.
I began to wonder, if I wore a constant pedometer from the day I was allowed to place my newly repaired leg on the ground and take step number one, where those thousand miles would take me……..

There is an awesome resonance
To the words
Which ring of epic
And grand, but
Must a journey of a thousand miles
Traverse great, grey walls,
Blinding scapes of ice and snow,
Or sand duned deserts;
History oozing between the toes
At every step,
Echoing the footfall of
Fearless warriors,
Tracing the paths of
Tireless trekkers,
Or dauntless discoverers?

My victorious trip
from fridge to sofa
Carrying my trophy treasure
Unaided,
May not sound like
A suitable place to start
A round the world walk
Of momentous measure
Worthy of mention,
Nor the crutch aided
Limp up the garden path
To the compost bin and back
With banana skins and tea bags,
High risk cargo for the unstable
Lone ranger.

Yet I am a long distance traveller,
But I am following my own footsteps.

Hope and glory

For Sally Slingback

On parade,
Passionate and party pink,
She was a curvaceous accessory
Worth her weight
In pretty plaster,
Attracting smiles
To sweeten the pain
That lay beneath
Her candy coloured wrapper.

Similes and metaphors
Adorned her,
Adored her.
Inscribed,
Signed and dated
By poets and lyricists
Perhaps she forgot
Her purpose
Was to hold,
To help,
To heal.

She lost her grip
On that reality,
And with her rising notoriety,
Offered only
half-hearted hugs
And air kisses.

So she had to go.

And ballerina became
Hockey player:
Fierce
Functional and
Fighting fit.
Surgical white
And the weight of lead.

Amused smiles fracture
And displace,
Replaced by
A sympathetic glance
Or grimace.

Yet this tough lover,
This tightly gripping
Vice of a companion,
Will hold your broken bones
Until they mend.

No fuss.
No splendour
No glory.
Only hope.

Rehab

10 weeks 5 days since BL (1 week 6 days since release!)
I am beginning to think that my encapsulated leg was my ‘muse’, be that a somewhat grandiose label for the wind behind the wings of my meanderings, as I haven’t written more than a ‘to do list’ since the day of my release.
Although I felt a prisoner, without crime or politics, I knew the boundaries and limitations of my captivity and they were kind of reassuring.
Now? Now I don’t know how much or how little to do with this born again limb…

A tender, unstable elephant leg,
Resting on frozen peas
Lies beside its sylph like sister,
Whispering discomfort,
Wishing for respite.

How easy it was
To leave the work to her,
Sleeping within the dark cocoon of purple plaster.
Stress free muscles relaxing,
Without tension or tenacity,
While she carried the load,
Relieved, I suppose, to be the survivor.

But now, frail and scarred,
It is time to take the weight,
To share the pace of
Left
Right
Left
Right….
With every footfall,
A balloon rises above
And expands.

Yet this is no airborne,
Helium joyride,
No uplifting rise,
Just a heavy,
Fluid swelling,
And I lumber onward
With an aged shuffle
Unsuited to my years,
Whilst I try to revive
A long forgotten
Muscle memory of dance.

Still,
I am grateful
For the foot on the floor,
The unbound limb,
The light,
A pinhole of promise,
At the end of the
Long,
Long,
Long,
L o n g
Tunnel

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What lies beneath…?

Eight weeks and three days:
Two months gestation period of whatever hideousness is lurking beneath this bandage chrysalis cast.
I have glimpsed reptilian features in the blink of an eye between cast transitions and I am fearful for the birth, the revelation.

Eight weeks and five days:
I have an illogical sense of bereavement for my old, unbroken, skin and bone leg, as if it were now a survivor of violation, of abuse, of incarceration and I wish I had taken more care of it, as in the passing on of a neglected old friend.
Yet it has not gone, only hidden away from view, from touch, but mysteries gather momentum with time….

Eight weeks and six days:
Freeeedom! Release! Relief! It’s just a leg…

Blinking it’s way into daylight,
The reborn limb appears;
A hostage released into the world,
Marked by captivity,
Unwashed, bearded,
Vulnerable.

And I rush to meet its needs
Like a doting wife,
Who has waited
Expecting the worst,
Never daring to imagine this day would come.

I touch, tenderly
Tentatively,
In disbelief of the return
Back into my care
To nourish and nurture,
In a way I never had before.

I bathe
and sooth
and pamper.

It reaches for the ground,
For it’s roots.
And I place it
very
very
gently
on
the
floor.
We are home.

We are made of glass

If I had ever had to parcel myself up in a box to send by Royal Mail, I might have added a best before date and a few air holes, but I doubt I would have thought to add the label: Fragile! Handle with Care!!
But now that it is an irrefutable truth that I am ACTUALLY made of glass, I will be bubble wrapped and placed in moulded polystyrene before such an event!

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Bone:
The stuff of arrow heads
And daggers,
A durable, plosive, flint of a word.
Bone:
Surviving the centuries,
Outlasting soft sinew and spirit,
The teller of tales,
The hardware of human history.

Shelves, stacked with skin softening,
Protective and rejuvenating products,
Hold few pamper kits for the bones,
Beyond the back store,
Bottom shelf bottles
of vitamin D and calcium,
Lurking behind the hair restorers
and removals.

It is no surprise that we learn
Only on impact
Of our irrefutable fragility,
That in fact
We are made of china,
Made of glass.
A spun sugar network,
A dry spaghetti tower,
With marshmallow joints
Just waiting
For an accident to happen….

And in an instant
We are transformed
From weapon and warrior
To weak and wounded,
A Fragmented,
Shattered,
Splintered
Version of ourselves,
Needy,
Obsessive
And intolerant
At worst.
At best?
Probably asleep.

I imagine
My favourite coffee cup,
Fractured and repaired,
with steel and screws,
The blue stem of an antique sherry glass,
Splinted and plastered
And almost upright.

I am not vain,
But vulnerable
Where I was invincible,
Fearful, not less,
Of the fall from
There to here.
Here
Where I await
The morning’s unveiling
Of my repairs
.

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