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Prairie Schooner 79.4 (2005) 32-34

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Dance of the Lettuce Fan, and: Spastic Walking

Dance of the Lettuce Fan

Renee's Garden seed package; Baby Mesclun Lettuces, "Cut and Come Again"

. . . we live on the expectant edge, dear
Senator, rich in milk that flows freely
from the world's bitter insults. Come, take
of our gentle opium, refreshing and cool, which
so delighted Emperor Augustus, he built
an altar to it. Ah, here's your Ruby Red. Nearly
always eaten raw and slow to bolt, see
how leisurely she relinquishes
each leaf, each translucent hint
of her tender core. Don't
you find she agitates the very air? Now,
the finale, as one frilled
fan flies after another, until [End Page 32]
a single leaf remains, its blushed rim rippling,
and then that too, like an eyelid waking,
slips away.

Spastic Walking

"Spastic Walking," 1887, a collotype by Eadweard Muybridge who used an array of cameras to study the gaits of humans and animals

O to quantify the nude girl guided by Matron
in the tall black dress  her tonic spasm
head lolling like a half moon

jettison, jettison the stiff and stark, the tensile, taut

grid behind her to calculate tectonics
of neurons spanking    the right
arm stiff as a crucifix as

detonations in my pigeon head

palm wretched up with asking for asking what
is the order inside disorder    her bowl
of fire pubics    man keep your eyes on

boys hooting "deadlegs, lameter, kindling . . ."

this offbeat offtick   what stray virus what
yaw in the womb brought her   years
of mothers gawking    legs bowed beyond

O Asklepios settle the squall of sinew, be my fat moon [End Page 33]

the scent of jacaranda on the hospital
grounds    a sudden twist    her long braid
swinging    her bones the loyal scaffolding

swan & smooth me, gather me at different speeds, and love

this beauty this genius of flaw

Stefi Weisburd received the Nation/Discovery prize for poetry in 2002. Her work has appeared in Poetry, the Paris Review, Gettysburg Review, and others.



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