NaPoWriMo Day 3 : Legs
Today’s prompt is based in a poem by Larry Levis called “The Two Trees.” It is a poem that seems to meander, full of little digressions, odd bits of information, but fundamentally, it is a poem that takes time. It takes its time getting where it’s going, and the action of the poem itself takes place over months. Today, I’d like to challenge you to similarly write something that involves a story or action that unfolds over an appreciable length of time. Perhaps, as you do, you can focus on imagery, or sound, or emotional content (or all three!)
Its just the third day and the prompt’s got challenging. I found it tough. Let me know what you’ll think.
I was young, I must have been eight-
My mother said, ‘Keep your legs close together
Its only proper.’ I looked at her, not quite
comprehending. But I did not question. I wasn’t a boy.
I had learnt the difference. They could sit with legs apart
It didn’t matter. I had to watch out. I was a girl.
I was twelve I think or maybe thirteen-
My dad put me in swimming classes. I got a new pink
swimming trunk. My legs kicking like a fish’s tail flapping.
I was free. My legs bare and strong… like the boys.
I could see each curve, each muscle. I felt proud.
Mamma said, ‘ It’s fine at the pool. But once
you’re home, keep those legs together. You’re not
It was time for High School
I had to wear skirts. Was the new uniform. The girls wore
them high. ‘The higher the better,’ they giggled. Their legs
smooth as marble. Not mine. I kept it low and pulled my
sock up high. Mine like boys’ – an overgrown lawn.
I didn’t like that at all. Mamma said, ‘It’s too soon.’
Then came college.
The time had come to do what the other girls’ did.
My legs – they caught a lot of attention…from the
girls in the convent. I sure didn’t mind. I was quite the
rage. I wore fish-tail skirts and pencil skirts.
The ones that kept my legs together. And I sat the way
mamma said I should.
Finally it was Spring. There I was, a flower
in full-bloom. I ruled the world, I strutted like a queen.
My legs trembled underneath. All eyes were on me.
But nobody noticed. The white gown was a blessing.
The stilettos held me high. They masked the fear.
And I walked into my new world.
Seasons changed. Many of them.
I lay on a bed-sprawled. In a blue robe. No it wasn’t.
It had sleeves…was open at the back, tied with a string.
My legs were bent at the knees. Bare. Spread out like butterflies wings.
My yoga teacher would be proud. The pain, it came in spurts.
Each wave stronger. Mamma said, ‘ Take a deep breath. Keep your
legs wide, as wide as you can. Push darling.‘ And I did.
Its finally winter- the final one I think. I wobble to the door.
Not as fast as before. ‘How’re your legs, grandma ?‘ they ask.
‘I’m on them,‘ I smile. Its been a long journey. They’ve
withstood the seasons and the tides. They’ve ached but
not given up or in. Not any lesser because I
was a girl.
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