Knees

Written 1993

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Every spring I split a knee
Mom said, you’ll never be a majorette
with knees like that. Sit still
I squirmed, picked scabs,
everyday at least, peeled the crust
to see if it was clean and pink
underneath. Or watched it bleed—
+++ slowly, like a bloom opening
+++ then the thick red petal
+++ sliding down my shin until
+++ it was stopped by a finger or a tongue

Now my knees seldom bleed.
They just work
under hose or jeans,
and I laugh at men who look at
Knees, just gristle on bone,
and there are scars on these.
+++ slowly, like a bloom opening
+++ then the thick red petal
+++ sliding down my shin until
+++ it was stopped by a finger or a tongue

Lyric based on “Knees” from Julia Kasdorf’s Sleeping Preacher,
published by University of Pittsburgh Press, ©1992, all rights reserved.
Reproduced by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press.

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