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 ReviewMorpo ReviewPerigeeSkylineOregon East Southern Humanities Review TouchstoneWindsor ReviewMaverickParnassus Literary ReviewSmall PondKansas QuarterlyBlue UnicornExquisite CorpseTerrain Aroostook Review, and many others.

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