Leg Cramp Genealogy by Richard Fein
From atop my dresser over my bed,
the whole colorful crew stares down at me in black and white,
all gathered in front of a well-worn 1926 Model T.
And in the next photo smiles a young grandma Katherine,
in a neck-to-ankle, make-a-Puritan-proud dress.
But she was never a Puritan.
Before she died decades ago, Katherine told me legends about my ancestors.
Her horse-and-buggy father knew how to finger the reins of fillies.
But he was also well suited for Model Ts, for she claimed he was the first to discover
the now infamous use of an automobile backseat.
And this knowledge must have been in the genes, an instinct passed from father to daughter,
for she was born knowing the secrets of backseat contortion
without getting cramps in her legs or sticking them out the window.
And once my dowager grandma whispered to me that her daughter carried on the tradition.
Mommy, my own mommy.
I was part of a venerable line of auto-erotic acrobats and so was biblically begat in a Buick.
I should get wallet-size miniatures of these photos
and dangle them from the front mirror of my new Toyota
instead of the rubber dice and St. Christopher.
We all must be proud of having driven this far forward through the generations.
But frankly with the new ecofriendly politically correct compact cars
a bed is more comfy than a backseat.
Richard Fein was Finalist in the 2004 Center for Book Arts Chapbook Competition. He will soon have a chapbook published by Parallel Press, University of Wisconsin, Madison. He has been published in many web and print journals, such as Southern Review, Morpo Review, Perigee, Skyline, Oregon East Southern Humanities Review Touchstone, Windsor Review, Maverick, Parnassus Literary Review, Small Pond, Kansas Quarterly, Blue Unicorn, Exquisite Corpse, Terrain Aroostook Review, and many others.