there is a line in a novel that has
long since been lost, reading:
“A woman moves in three different ways,
and those that make figure-eights
with their hips have it.”
the thrall of it wore off a long time ago
but that doesn’t prevent my
muscle (ha!) memory
from working against me in all the ways
I’ve forgotten to remember
a body could.
it started innocuously enough, with
the drive of a day-old octopus,
flinging its jelly body about,
I realize that my hips could
s w a y
and I would not succumb to gravity.
Slip into platforms and suddenly
Strutting down the imaginary catwalk
Your “friends” saying you walk like a
I didn’t have time at ten
To wonder what that word meant.
It just sounded wrong.
Yet you persisted.
Lines in the tile floors at the grocery store
Became my new best friend.
Mum didn’t own high heels.
Didn’t matter—I simply ruined my feet
With years of walking on the pad
(as opposed to the ball)
I was always a disappointment in track and field.
Balance beams and floor-to-ceiling mirrors
Your eight-year old self is prostate in a full splits
And you better BELIEVE I can still do it
but the only info to come of that
six years later
is a classmate’s question if you would be able to
still do that after having a kid.
Oh don’t get me started about all the questions about whether or not having a child will affect it.
Is it rude? Probably?
Am I amused?
If my existence has taught me anything, its
To use the assumptions of my fellow humans
And yes I will walk
However I damn well please to.
My strut isn’t for you.
(I stopped playing a long time ago, I’m just cheering everyone else on now.)
Even without the warnings
Of a third-rate masseuse
To figure out something
Was wrong with my spine
(at the tender age of thirteen, no less)
I would still walk this way.
It pleased my young self
To walk towards glass buildings
And see how my hips would gyrate
(I would be lying if I didn’t point out that I still watch myself walk)
I never wore heels taller than
Two inches after age fourteen.
My Girl Scout troupe would have
Sacrificed me had they seen me walk in them.
(despite every single one of them walking without remorse)
It’s a strange line to toe
And one that people don’t thank you for.
But as long as I throw back my head
(laugh it off)
Play the electronic music
With the spiking beat
And the moving harmony
That makes the old memories
Of dance class as a child
Rush back to greet me.
But I digress.
These words mean nothing
Without some conviction:
And I cannot speak for only
When I say that it’s frustrating
Could I wind back the clock
Could I see that younger self
I’d tell her to keep on strutting.