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  • Writer's pictureSharon Frances

Poetry is...

Updated: Apr 15, 2023

You may have seen her painting—

legs and feet stick out from

the canvas edge,

surrounded by ripples of water

or cascades of fabric,

people and objects of her desire

surrounding her in memories.

She paints on her back

from pain’s vantage point.

I used to lay like her

In the bathtub, on my bed

and wave my invisible brush in the air

Now with this body, laying on this couch

rendered motionless from exhaustion,

I write about my hands

angled out from forearms

which I know are attached

to elbows I can’t see.

Fingers resting on letter keys

describing people and objects of my desire

on a sheet of paper

I can see but can’t touch.

Writing on my back

Fatigue’s weight refuses

Movement invitations


Sometimes a poem isn’t

something brilliant

It’s just the way I can say

what I see,

See things in what I say

when nothing else will do

when I can do nothing else

because I am captured by this body

and its stark refusal

to be anything but what it can be

after cancer

Sometimes a poem is like a painting

showing what the world is like

in that moment

when I can think of nothing else

but how it feels

to be rendered captive by this body

on loan in the world,

precious in all it can give me

Sometimes poetry is an effort

to reconnect with myself

to put together fingers and hands

and forearms and elbows

knees and bottom and back,

run them altogether with a spine

that threads itself into my skull

and allows my brain to make everything work

even when it feels like

nothing works at all

Poetry is my offering

of movement

and invitation

and imagination,

of invisible brushes

and typed pages.

However it sounds

it matters because

it comes from me.

These words and images are the property of the poet, Sharon Frances.

Do not use in part or whole without permission.

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