The Armless Girl Speaks

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.