Rule of Leg
by Ann Howells


for Wesley Hartman

Doc Drake eases into the examining room,
Numbers are up, he cries,
furrows forming between brows.
Cholesterol! Demon American diet!
The trick, he lectures, eat nothing
that has more legs than you.

But Doc Drake doesn’t know
the man to whom he speaks
is a bit of a philosopher; even worse,
he hangs with poets. At the supermarket
his little cart careens. Beef’s out.
Lamb’s out. Turkey, duck and chicken
are in. Turducken? He’s unsure;
should he count two legs per bird,
or the total of six? And three-legged pigs,
would they be healthier eating
than four-legged ones?
Is that noted on the packaging?

Clams got no legs, though each
does have a foot. Are they a wiser choice
than the amorphous oyster? Should he seek
battle-torn lobsters, gimpy shrimp,
hexaplegic crawdads? And calamari?
Legs? Or arms? His quandary resolves
as he approaches the bakery; donuts, pastry
and pie have no legs at all.






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