Never Had a Hip

                                  By Randall A. Wells, 2017                                   
                             Originally for Joseph T. Moskal, M.D.

                                   Revision of October 26, 2017

Never had a hip.

By step or spoke, K to twelve—
Cracking acorns underfoot, dodging puddles,
Zooming on gotta-slide-ice,
On snow printing “I was here” with galoshes.
By belly vaulting onto hillside sled,
Crouch-and-springing behind blur of bat.

Odd jobs meant lunging a leg on shovel,
Pulling a leaf-clogged rake or hoisting white (wet or dry).
Pushed a mower to college by strips or shrinking perimeters,
Scrubbed for bucks with knees polishing floor.
Those cardboard stock-boxes at the A & P
Didn’t load themselves onto a dolly, twist-rip open,
Purple-price-stamp goods, and load shelves.
For overnight weeks I hauled pallet-loads on a factory mule-team.

At the beach, sand slanted us waveside-walkers
One angle on the first stretch, the opposite on the return gimp,
Against our earlier toes intaglio.
A chlorine-dripping poolside pencil marked my 200th half-mile.
Climbed stairs as if painted on flat, scoffed at Down-buttoners.
Slammed the axe, climbed the roof-ladder and trod the pitched shingles.

Now carry-hugged a child—Dad’s gravida.
Pedals or tennies hit the suv-div circuit,
Twenty years of coast to coast to coast to coast.
The elliptical—Emperor of the Gym—put up high resistance
But always yielded underfoot.
And asena by asena—plank, twist, and tree—still no hip.

Till one day I met this joint by “Ouch.”

Same greeting whenever left foot met downward stair fifteen.
New acquaintance declined to lift grandchild.
“Oil me,” it begged,
Murmured “acetablum, polythylene.”
Surgeon reported “Bone on bone.”
Off to K at seventy-five? Don’t jump or run.




Poem for Julien Vasaune on his Third Birthday, April 2, 2013

By Randall A. Wells

Julien woke and wailed, lost

In darkness. Grandpa carried fear

Outside to calming sunlight crossed

Through space to round and convex mirror.

Toucan with its puppet beak

Tried to grab him by the arm,

Then to give his neck a tweak,

But Grandpa said, “Don’t do him harm!”

“Take the end off!” Beaded string,

Tight-plugged, of patience little trace.

Refused, he gave an angry swing

And whacked his brother in the face.

Toddler loves his “pennies” —fakes

From Mommy’s daddy’s dad, now missed,

Coins for games. He guesses, takes

The silver out of Grandpa’s fist.

What’s sticking out of Julien’s ear?

“I hope that penny didn’t hurt!

And look down by your button—queer—

Another pokes out from your shirt!”

He laughed and took a coin and stuck

It in the mouth of back-flip dog,

Then took it out and, shades of Puck,

Replaced it with a leapless frog.

“Say ‘Go,’”—he did, and off it rolled,

The Grandpabarrow—gravel, grass.

Julien knew the sides to hold,

Heard the leafy footsteps pass.

Goldenrod would brush his hair

As facing backward up the lane

He rode the wheel until where

The fence said “Stop.” Too plain:

The cows were nowhere. “Want to climb

Back out?” Why, sure, and then he spots

The stowaways, the ants, no time

To flee the thumb that makes them blots.

Wait to see a leaf down glide.

He doesn’t catch it, autumn’s clock.

So let’s trundle on another ride:

“Whacha see up there?” “Big rock.”

“That’s so big it’s called a boulder.”

Grandpa couldn’t add “Erratic,

Source unknown and nothing older,

Kept for you in nature’s attic.”

A stop unscheduled: “Look for berries!”

In weedy brown he spies a bunch.

Grandpa comes back with the fairies’

Or the birdies’ orange lunch.

“A moon!” Same finger-pointed words

His dad-borne toddler-mom had said.

But sky was empty save for birds.

Oh, Grandma’s crescent nailed to shed!