by Chris Hewitt



In my next life I would choose to be
the mighty poplar—not because
of its great height, but because of its
heart-shaped, silver-backed leaves
whose mass comprises a swaying,
scintillating spire.

Then I could grow up
trusting that my limbs, flexed
under stress, would not break,
as my fragile bones do now.

I could grow up knowing that
to be vulnerable, to be sensitive
to every gust of wind is not weak
or unmanly but a sign of beauty,
and of strength.

* * *


My favorite thing to do with my father on vacation
was skimming stones over the waves.
He could throw a stone so far it would become
invisible on the horizon seemingly miles away,
kissing a wave crest only a couple of times.
The trick was in the angle of the throw
like pocketing a snooker ball,
like a hole in one.

To me, skimming was his athletic prowess,
his climbing Mount Everest,
his running the Four Minute Mile,
(I was good at it, too
though I couldn't throw as far).

How fitting it was we did this—
it resembled our conversation—
always skimming the surface—
snatches of words,
never daring to speak
of my brittle bones, my tiny size,
the fact that I would never walk.


© 2001 Chris Hewitt


CHRIS HEWITT's poetry and translations have appeared in The New Yorker, The Advocate, American Poetry Review, and The James White Review. Chris has osteogenesis imperfecta, "Brittle Bone Disease." Search Contents and Archive to find more of Chris Hewitt's work in BENT.


BENT: A Journal of CripGay Voices/September 2001