"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.


Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case

The Jarring Experience of Watching White Americans Speak Frankly About Race

How Facebook’s New Feature Could Come in Handy During a Disaster

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

View From Chicago

You Should Be Able to Sell Your Kidney

Or at least trade it for something.

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Terrorism, Immigration, and Ebola Are Combining Into a Supercluster of Anxiety

The Legal Loophole That Allows Microsoft to Seize Assets and Shut Down Companies

  News & Politics
Oct. 19 2014 1:05 PM Dawn Patrol Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s critically important 5 a.m. wake-up call on voting rights.
Business Insider
Oct. 19 2014 11:40 AM Pot-Infused Halloween Candy Is a Worry in Colorado
Oct. 17 2014 5:26 PM Judge Begrudgingly Strikes Down Wyoming’s Gay Marriage Ban
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 17 2014 4:23 PM A Former FBI Agent On Why It’s So Hard to Prosecute Gamergate Trolls
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Oct. 17 2014 1:33 PM What Happened at Slate This Week?  Senior editor David Haglund shares what intrigued him at the magazine. 
Oct. 19 2014 4:33 PM Building Family Relationships in and out of Juvenile Detention Centers
Future Tense
Oct. 17 2014 6:05 PM There Is No Better Use For Drones Than Star Wars Reenactments
  Health & Science
Space: The Next Generation
Oct. 19 2014 11:45 PM An All-Female Mission to Mars As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.
Sports Nut
Oct. 16 2014 2:03 PM Oh What a Relief It Is How the rise of the bullpen has changed baseball.