"On Deciding To Fire My Chiropractor"

A weekly poem, read by the author.
Jan. 28 2003 11:23 AM

On Deciding To Fire My Chiropractor

Listen to Lynne McMahon reading this poem.

The clipped up X-ray appears to show
       my bones beginning a scoliote sway,
the vertebral swerve toward cervical lock
       (the doctor points
with a sharpened stick) which fixes my head
       beyond my neck.
And that's bad, I guess, for he next begins
       listing bits
from my skeletal past which will no doubt
       accelerate my swift
decline … But I'm less aghast than
       he thinks right; in fact
I'm rather moved by the former lives
       alluded to. Those bone spurs
on the pelvic saddle? A cowgirl grace, some
       hormone-addled gyno-trace
still fording rills across the long-ago. I'm
       fond of those.
That catch and release in the middle back?
       Channels for the schooling
fish whose oiled omega-darting kept
       the mother limber
as she bent. Love's integument.
       Well, then, if not
the past (he snaps the X-ray off the screen)
       what about
the coming strains? The years that bring
       the inevitable stress? 
I've read my Horace, I know the drill:
       the middle way,
the cautious life—so I fire him
       and take my mat
to the Yoga Pagoda on Forum Drive.
       No moderate Horace
whose less is more, my force is gathering
       to Catullan excess.
And the problematic once-fused neck?
       Now eeling into tantric sex.

Lynne McMahon's third book of poems is titled The House of Entertaining Science. She is a professor of English at the University of Missouri.


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