Courtney Hartnett

Hanging out clothes on a hot
July evening, my mother told me
stories. The ones I remembered were
about my great grandmother, the one
with only one leg. They rode in her
wheelchair while she slept:
the fence of one is the freedom of
another. She didn’t talk about the
leg she lost; like a gone family member,
everyone knew what had happened.
Sometimes, though, she would sit quietly,
when the crickets sang at night and
everyone else slept under the
starpricked blanket of sky, and feel the
swirling fields of pain settle where
there was nothing:
an ankle throbbed, a calf spasmed,
a knee pulsed and twitched as
the pains reached with blind
fingers, searching for what was lost.