The Armless Girl Speaks by Gillian Devereux
I don’t invite pity nor require any
assistance. I have taught myself
how to use all the necessary tools:
the knife and fork, the comb and brush,
the hook and eye, the catch
and release. An extraordinary body
can still live an ordinary life, and I do,
in my way. I exist as exhibition—
just another nameless spectacle,
but even armless, I’m a girl.
I’ve mastered all the womanly arts:
knitting, embroidery, crochet.
The proud, graceful script taught
in finishing schools. The deft touch
required to arouse a lover.
There’s a beauty in my strangeness
that could ruin a man. But still they come
and watch: wide-eyed, tongue-tied by lust
or fear, by the movement of my bare feet,
by my painted toes, exotic as rubies.
You cannot miss what you’ve never known.
And what need have I for arms, for fingers?
What need have you for them, my darling?
I’ve feet as soft as any hand, a mouth
as capable as any woman’s.
Gillian Devereux received her MFA in Poetry from Old Dominion University and is currently a PhD candidate in the Media, Art, and Text program at Virginia Commonwealth University. She teaches Media Culture and English at Bay State College. Her poems have appeared in FOURSQUARE, H_NGM_N, Open Letters, Gargoyle, 32 Poems, Wicked Alice, and other journals.