Friday, January 23, 2015

Perpetuum Immobile

It's the moving part that breaks first--
The switch on the solid state phone,
The sliding blades of the razor,
The valves of the heart. You know this,

But saying you know feels mawkish.
Weight-bearing bits break next, except
When eroding sandstone's involved,
In which case the legs last longest.

Dr. Martine Watson Brownley,
Professor of Women's Studies
And 18th-Century Lit, said
To her class when she turned forty

Thirty years ago, "Look, I'll wear
Short skirts as long as I want to,
Damn it! Legs are the last to go."
Maybe hers were. She's still alive,

And there's something moving to it,
The memory of defiance,
Of the will to remain unmoved,
Which moves nothing to sustain us.

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