Retirement Home, Fresh Perm and Red Lipstick in Wheelchair

The floors of the hallways are rubber and so
are the shoes—or else they're slippers, never
know the ground. Instead, rubber-coated wheels.
I'm thinking about the shape of contact,
the different ways we touch the earth. Remember
heels, one point taking all the weight? Once,
the aisle at the opera—plush red like a throat's
lining and canted down to the dark swallow
of the pit—and I'm walking the way my mother
taught me: heel first, then toe, each step a little
rocking-horse. You'd better believe
I kept my head up the whole time, sure
of my physics. Now they roll me naked
into the shower. Water sings on the metal.

CLAIRE EDER'S poems have appeared in The Lyric and The Smoking Poet. She is currently pursuing an M.F.A. at the University of Florida.