Backbone

There is more than one.
Each nods to the next from a respectful distance,
   As they turn in regiment to every task,
      Not to tumble in tears.

      Rarely have I thought to offer them thanks,
         For no strength can go forth without them.
          I laud them for carrying me the four flights to my office when lobby lines are long,
           For letting me sweep my gaze across horizons,
              For freeing my hands to do gesture and balm,
               And for supporting my fastidious arrangements of tools on the workbench,
      Before any repair can be made.

      Once they all demanded tribute,
     That morning after the forty-five rushed minutes behind a snow shovel.
    But usually they keep their silence,
     Whisper confidential reassurances to the spinal cord
      And maintain a sinuous grace.

This poem was published in the Spring 2020 issue of Speckled Trout Review.

Andy Oram
February 24, 2019