Ona Gritz


A girl with one prosthetic leg dances
at a club in short skirt and heels
on the cover of Sunday Styles, her
silver thigh textured like sequins,
hair over her face, not to hide
but she’s lost in that song.
I tape her photo next to my desk,
remember the morning I had you
touch my calves, the right thin
with palsy, the other, full and strong.
That same day we kissed like teens
in a New York café, your guide dog
curled like a throw rug at our feet.
“Anyone else making out?” you asked.
“Just us,” I said, eyeing an indifferent
crowd. And there, among the haves,
those with sight, with matching limbs,
you whispered that my breasts spell
a perfect C in braille. So this is how
it feels, I thought, to inherit the earth,
how it feels loving one of my own.

* **


Awkward in new angles and curves,
I could swim, slough all that off.
Sleek dolphin, mermaid grace

in the bright false blue of the pool
that changed from unbearably cold
to just warm enough once I dipped

my shoulders in. Light, afloat, I exhaled
bubbles, filled my head with humming
and watched my blurred familiar limbs

until shivering and famished, I rose
thinking, warm towel, salted fries,
ready to want the things of this world.

Ona Gritz studied poetry in the Graduate Creative Writing program at New York University. Her second book for children, Tangerines and Tea: My Grandparents and Me (Harry N. Abrams) was named best Alphabet Book of 2005 by Nick Jr. Family Magazine. Her poetry has been published in numerous anthologies and journals, including Paterson Literary Review, The Pedestal Magazine, The Barefoot Muse, Ekphrasis and Tattoo Highway. Her poem "First Anniversary" won first prize in category 2 of the 2007 Inglis House Poetry Contest. Her chapbook of poems Left Standing was released in 2005 by Finishing Line Press. Gritz, who has cerebral palsy, writes a monthly column for the online journal Literary Mama, on her experiences as a mother with a disability raising her able-bodied son.