Learn to Lean
Mel Bosworth

Marcy pokes me with a broom handle while I'm at the sink doing dishes. She asks why I'm standing on one foot and I explain that it keeps me from throwing my back out.

Poke poke.

"Why would it matter if you only stand on one foot?"

Poke poke.

I tell her I'm not sure, that I've thrown my back out doing stupid things before, and that even a slight lean over the sink could knock things out of place.

"When I stand on one foot," I say, "it seems to take the pressure off." 

Poke poke.

"Please stop that," I say.

Marcy asks me something else while I scrub a crusty spot from a bowl. The crust is pink and I wonder what it could have been. I only hear the word "what" and I imagine she asked me "What are you?" so I tell her I may be a chair, or even a pillow. My mind has been wandering badly of late and I forget what I am sometimes. But this answer displeases her and she starts swinging the broom handle at the back of my knee.

Whack whack.

"Marcy, that hurts."

Whack whack.

I see a hummingbird outside the window above the sink. Part of me mistakes it for my reflection so I hum and hover in front of Marcy. She asks me something again but it's taking so much energy to remain in the air that all of my senses are compromised. Marcy is a colorful blur and the fact that I'm hovering must freak her out because she hits me on the head with the broom handle and I drop.

She tells me that I worry too much and that I should just be what I am.

"I love what you are," she says and then she helps me to my feet. She pulls me toward her and I feel the lean. I think to lift a foot but I don't.

Mel Bosworth is the author of When the Cats Razzed the Chickens and Grease Stains, Kismet, and Maternal Wisdom (forthcoming from Aqueous Books).

To link to this story directly: http://wigleaf.com/201003learn.htm

Detail of illustration on main page courtesy of Mister Kha.

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