Oh, Knees

by Anne Maren-Hogan

how well you’ve held
me up and lowered me down. You,
the fiercest joints in my body.
With your help I began my journey,
crawling across kitchen linoleum.
You took the brunt of my fall chasing
cattle, gravel embedded in the cap
of your armor. So proud of my scar, I wear
it like a medal. Forgot to thank you.
When we rise each morning, you offer
steady balance, whether the load is a baby
on my back or arms filled with firewood.
Bareback on the palomino, impossible
without your grip.

I know your familiar noises, talking
back, creaking hinge, as I climb
the back pasture. I try to listen
when you prefer not to sit cross-legged,
give you respect in yoga postures.

Knees, you articulate generously, fold
into a lap to rock
my romping grandchildren.
You bend whenever I genuflect
and kneel, whenever I submit
to something greater, be it earth
of dahlia beds or the Divine.

All this belated praise, which is to say,
could you trek me along the Irish coast?
You, so gracious when we rambled
the Camino. Will you be a pilgrim
with me again? I promise
to keep you warm with layers
of leggings and hot tea.
Let’s have a go at it, eh??

Anne Maren-Hogan writes and gardens in one of the oldest intentional communities in the country, dedicated to simplicity, sustainability, and consensus decision-making. Her childhood on an Iowa farm, which her family still farms, provides material for her poetry, as deep and rich as the black earth from which she comes. She has published two chapbooks, The Farmer’s Wake and Laying the Past in the Light. Her manuscript, Vernacular, was chosen as the winner of the Lena M. Shull Poetry Book contest by North Carolina Poetry Society 2021.