Home > Poetry > Cripple’s Dance
Published: Tue Oct 15 1974
Eva Lundsager, Were now like (detail), 2021, oil on canvas
AGNI 3 Mental Health Relationships Illness
Cripple’s Dance

_                             _I

I stare at myself
As I wheel crippled twin
Across the terrace.
A thin and wasted me,
He is bored of himself,
His books, and bedsores.
But it is I in the factory
Who works for his cancer
& chamber-pot nurses.
My brother, your boredom bores me.

_                            _II

It is suppertime.
I exchange our rings and watches,
Throw your light body over the wall
& listen for the disturbing crash
Of your final belly-flop.
I ease into your chair
& scream for the nurses.
Come save my brother,
He tripped off the wall
While tap dancing for me.

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Stuart Dischell is the author of Children with Enemies (University of Chicago Press, 2017), as well as Good Hope Road, a 1991 National Poetry Series Selection (Viking, 1993); Evenings & Avenues (Penguin, 1996); Dig Safe (Penguin, 2003); and Backwards Days (Penguin, 2007). Dischell’s poems have been published in journals such as The Atlantic, The New Republic, AGNI, Slate, The Kenyon Review, and in anthologies including Essential Pleasures, Hammer and Blaze, The Pushcart Prize, and Good Poems. A recipient of awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, he teaches in the MFA program in creative writing at University of North Carolina Greensboro. He is a contributing editor of AGNI. (updated 4/2019)

Dischell’s first full-length collection Good Hope Road was reviewed in AGNI 40 by Joseph Lease.

Dischell’s collection Evenings & Avenues was reviewed in AGNI 46 by George Weld.

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