Last Legs


Last Legs

Your legs, at the last,
clearly would not last.
Skin worn thin,
vessels prodding the rim
as if already on their way
to somewhere else.

They could maybe sometimes briefly
but this was not the rite
of stance, where legs foot push
into the ground,
take root,
tow gravity.

These were legs whose flesh
caged wings
alternately frantic to take flight
or dejected, the inner bird slumped
against humped thigh, hinged knee,
the bone-scraped bar
of shin.

But what is it takes flight in death
when limbs sink
so heavily, when all falls
so gravely down?
I can only think of that bit
called last, what makes
legs last,
what we hope
will last,
even when it can’t be found
any longer, even as
we long for it.


Calling this a draft because it rhymes with last and because I just wrote it this morning before work.  For my own prompt on With Real Toads about “last legs”; this is some poem for some day in April, 2015 National Poetry month.  I appreciate the picture is perhaps not exactly right;  it is a light sculpture by my husband, Jason Martin.


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12 Comments on “Last Legs”

  1. Kay Davies Says:

    Glad you mentioned it’s a light sculpture. I was sure I saw legs in there and was looking for more detail.
    I love the poem, though, and can hardly believe it was written in the morning before work. Good stuff!

  2. hedgewitch Says:

    ‘…when limbs sink
    so heavily, when all falls
    so gravely down?’

    You have done another sort of Neruda-ish thing with legs here–but one particular pair, it seems–wholly owned, sharing characteristics of all legs, even tree legs, including the falling down, but they are also in each detail legs that belong to one single person, that have carried that person till they can go no further. Plus, the merge of last into this is so graceful, so natural and pervasive, that it seems to shadow the fate of just about anything. Your personification is just exquisite, and the mood is ruminative in that broody way that I really enjoy and relate to. Thanks for writing so well to your own theme (and for letting me slide an oldie into the mix.)

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks, no worries re older poem–it is a great one. Thanks for kind words–I was thinking of a tree at the end but caught myself before going on and on with it! Ha! k.

      On Thu, Apr 23, 2015 at 3:02 PM, ManicDDaily wrote:


  3. Jim Says:

    Nice story, sweet and sour. Nice prompt too, I like to see what the prompter writes. Thank you.
    Your lines, “‘…when limbs sink so heavily, when all falls,” to these I’d add “and they take your car keys away.”
    That was rolling in my head as I have just returned from our local “Upper Cuts” where the owner, Betty was telling about her 50th class reunion, getting older, and parting with her keys.

  4. Sanaa Says:

    Intense & powerful piece…!

  5. Snakypoet (Rosemary Nissen-Wade) Says:

    Nice draft. It reads (to me, anyway) almost as if it should become a longer story rather than a poem — or perhaps both in one. So many intriguing lines!

  6. othermary Says:

    So good, failing legs are the perfect metaphor for ‘last legs.’ Really well done.

  7. Ella Says:

    You took us to the edge on our last leg-literally! Powerful read

  8. Sumana Roy Says:

    “as if already on their way / to somewhere else.” and this is like a foreboding when we find ‘last’ lurking about…love the way you responded to this wonderful prompt….

  9. This is powerful,

    “These were legs whose flesh
    caged wings”

    and I love the contrasts that you build within…the will and desire against reality.

    Great writing, K!

  10. when limbs sink
    so heavily, when all falls
    so gravely down? Love that line. I am trying all I can to make sure my legs last longer. I watched my mother and mother-in-law deteriorate much sooner than they should have.

  11. Kerry O'Connor Says:

    Such pathos in your description of the frailness of aged legs. This was such a moving piece.

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