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
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
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)
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.