ambulation of effect and causation–Ariel Crego

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

You’re ten

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.


Picture this:

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

As arsenal


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.

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