The Man Without Arms
by Kenneth Wanamaker

    I am walking on Swenson Avenue,
    my folded arms creating
    an armless shadow on the pavement.

    he cannot shake my hand,
    he cannot defend me with right jabs,
    cannot scratch my eyes
    when I lift his wallet,
    cannot take me in his arms,
    parry thrusts,
    maneuver my face to his.

    he can reach for nothing
    grasp nothing
    take nothing.
    he could kick-box, I suppose,
    live on foreign aid and scotch,
    spoon-fed and straddled
    by a visiting nurse.

    I release our limbs.
    we might embrace but he prefers me
    at arms length.

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