Sharon Waller Knutson

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.

Mind Traveling

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.

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