Sharon Waller Knutson is a retired journalist who lives in Arizona. She has published nine poetry books including My Grandmother Smokes Chesterfields (Flutter Press 2014,) What the Clairvoyant Doesn’t Say and Trials & Tribulations of Sports Bob (Kelsay Books 2021) and Survivors, Saints and Sinners and Kiddos & Mamas Do the Darndest Things (Cyberwit 2022.) Her work has also appeared recently in Lothlorien, GAS Poetry, Art and Music, The Rye Whiskey Review, Black Coffee Review, Terror House Review, Trouvaille Review, ONE ART, Mad Swirl, The Drabble, Gleam, Spillwords, Muddy River Review, Verse-Virtual, Your Daily Poem, Red Eft Review and The Five-Two.
Rehabbing Uncooperative Limbs
Your road is too rough, says the physical therapist and sends me a video of a macho man who looks like he could bench press the brahma bull bellowing outside my window. Surprisingly I can squat and extend my leg from my knee until it screams and I realize I am not exactly an athlete with a sports injury. I google strengthening leg exercises for seniors and click on a video of a male millennium with hair on his chin, a belly that never birthed a baby and calves that never squealed like they were being lassoed by a cowboy on a stallion. When he twists his body into a pretzel, I turn it off and drag out my Denise Austin tapes and pop them in the VCR. She in a red leotard - mine doesn’t fit me anymore - and me in elastic Bermuda shorts and a baggy shirt, stretch and squat and cha cha cha until I lose my breath and sprawl on my back on the bed and bicycle, hang onto the bedpost in tree pose and play like a plank of wood on the bed. My legs are grumbling and groaning as I graduate to Gilad’s workouts with weights and aerobics. High on endorphins and adrenalin, I add weight and minutes to my workout and feeling strong and invincible I step, strut and soar on legs stiff and shaky until they collapse like a house made of matchsticks.
In a wheelchair with Novocain numb feet, knees stabbed by knitting needles and starched stiff legs, I imagine I am: In the Bay Area with Abha walking along the embarcadero, Third Street Bridge to Mission Bay Kids Park where we watch the wind whooshing under the wings of her granddaughter as she flies on a swing like a swallow. In Santa Monica Mountains with Rosie hiking three miles in Corral Canyon Park, seeking shade under alders and willows, brushing away tall grasses opening and shutting like saloon doors. Eating fish and chips at the Malibu Shrimp Shack satiated and satisfied. In Pennsylvania with Margaret sipping lemonade on the patio of the five-bedroom house where she has lived for fifty years, the last sixteen years alone as a widow and empty nester. Reminiscing about interviewing JFK, she in Dover and me in Billings. two underage Jackie Kennedy look alikes about to be baptized in a blood bath in Dallas. In, Maryland with Marianne and Ethan where their cat Thelma watches a crow from the windowsill as we walk to the Plaza Oaxaca and eat shrimp tacos beneath the locust trees. board a bus to Rock Creek Park, listen to the singalong as colorful cardinals, finch, thrush, sparrows perch on ash trees, follow the path to DC where Sonny Rollins plays at the Hamilton and Danilo Perez stops by. After sax blaring and piano rocking in a jazz jam, we somersault to the subway. In New Jersey walking in the woods with Michael and Laurie as swarms of starlings swim in the sky like swirling smoke then swoop above our heads like a scene out of the sixties Hitchcock movie. We gape, gawk, duck and dizzily dance at dusk but these black birds don’t attack, just murmur and mesmerize. In Vermont with Kelly and Mark walking their white Korean Jindo along a trail where a fox flits, intoxicated by lilac perfume as we watch a rabbit stalked by a hungry hawk dive under the back deck.