To Cartwheel

The first one came at school, urged on by a boy,
she ran into a competent spin, white triangle

at her groin his only point of focus. In youth,
her thighs remained toned, good enough

to be seen in parks, skirt hem teasing her chin,
air sharp at her hips. After marriage, she did it daily,

in the garden. Legs wide (not even spread that far
for the bearing of her boys) blood surging in her skull.

A neighbour mentioned it. His hushed confession
to a sighting amused her for days. Her husband continued

to thrill at limbs thrown skyward, her gymnast’s poise
on reaching the lawn’s edge. Their sons’ small heads peeking

above the sill, now their distant admiration from homes
of their own. Steady with retirement, they wash breakfast things

in peace, before he unties her apron, feels her loosen, lets her go.

To Cartwheel