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OWEN LEWIS

 

 

 

Owen Lewis is the author of two collections of poetry, Marriage Map (2017,) Sometimes Full of Daylight (2013) and two pamphlets, Best Man receiving the 2016 Jean Pendrick Chapbook Award (New England Poetry Club.)  Recent honors include first prize in the 2016 International Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine, second prize in the 2016 Kent and Sussex (U.K.), and second prize in the 2017 Paumantok Award (Farmingdale State College, U.S.)  He is a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University and teaches with the Narrative Medicine group. www.owenlewispoet.com

 

 

 

 

How I Started to Use a Cane

 

A day of almost rain

I took my umbrella

to be prepared.

 

It had an oak curved handle

that fitted my palm.

I hadn't noticed at first,

 

the tap of the wooden end

on the sidewalk

just ahead of my right foot.

 

The motion, a natural

swing forward was just ahead

of my right leg, was easy

 

I was talkin on the phone,

walking easier, noticed only after

the tap, the tap-step, tap-step

 

and I felt this step in my hand

and heard it keeping a beat.

My feet, all sock-swaddled,

 

seemed muffled and vague,

made a kind of shuffle-step

instead of the tap-step,

 

the tap-step’s sure contact

with the concrete. Some days

I set out, I’m half-way down-town,

 

I forget. All the names and numbers

are in the phone, but when

the name goes blank, the directory

 

is no use, no use at all,

and the tap-step is a sure thing,

even as my daughter’s name

 

my very own first-born, slips

my mind, and I almost slip

from the sudden blank shock of it,

 

and the tap-step, the tap-step

keep my feet in place,

my mind can be anywhere at all.

 

 

 

 

©2017 Owen Lewis

 

 

Author Links

 

'To the Party of the First...' in The Adirondack Review

'At Tribeca's Edge', 2016 Hippocrates Open First Prize

A review of Owen Lewis's collection Best Man in Sabotage Reviews

 

 

 

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