Andrew Wyeth’s Painting “Christina’s World”

Christina's World

Prisoner of my own flesh,
numbed legs like petulant children
dragging along behind, limp with
even as the hot sun burns the feathery field
into the dirty tallow of candlewax
and egg tempera.
The smoky gray house leans away from me
atop that lofty hill, also slanted
as if to turn its indifferent shoulder to me, fading
into the phantasmally white sky;
fading away
like unreal mirages in a grassy desert
while spiteful stalks scrape my pale, atrophied
body, my hands pulling my world along,
one palm tightly
to dig into the turf
and the other spreading skeletal fingers
to clutch at the broad, unfeeling breast
of my world.
My world—
my world is, for you, but a
momentary glimpse,
an uncomfortable glance just before you
turn away,
walk away,
moving freely toward the horizon
as it rolls easily toward you.
For me the horizon
looms larger, more daunting with
every day,
every hour, every
floundering moment spent
crawling, dragging, clutching
at the heartless breast of the earth, my own body
betraying me like a
drowned corpse who
refuses to release me from its
clinging death-grip.
My world will not move for me.
Though the earth is
scarred with the passage of vehicles, I move,
crippled and unaided,
by the dynamo of my
heart, my hands, my unflagging
I am
a mermaid
out of water
hauled cruelly ashore
and dropped onto the hot prairie,
lax legs limp beneath me, as unfeeling
as the earth beneath me;
as unfeeling as the world I call my own.
And yet,
though my world does not stir for me
my determination
stirs the world.

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