Bernice Lever

Not Just My Bunions” by Bernice Lever
from the 2018 Poem in Your Pocket Day booklet

Not just my bunions, 

they’re not that unique: 

red balls in summer, 

purple onions when cold, 

cracking the shiny leather  

of fashionable shoes, 

bulging the sides of slippers, 

perhaps they miss the beat  

when I’m dancing 

by their legacy of curved space. 

 

Not just that my whole understanding  

is deformed: 

my nose is crooked, too. 

It heads left as I move ahead: 

of no use, the hours I spent 

pushing it right with my fist, 

my elbow braced on a wooden school desk, 

it has a direction of its own. 

 

My teeth, with early independence, 

left on their own accord, 

my eyes keep clicking the dimmer switch 

refusing to focus 

on my expanding, free form waistline, 

my ears hear their own tune, 

while my mouth sings another: 

all that enters me is changed. 

 

All of me escapes ideal: 

not just my bulky bunions, 

there are other things, 

I have my excuses –  

barriers against love. 

 

From Yet Woman I Am (Highway BookShop Press, 1979)