University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The Literature Collection

Page View

Ferris, Jim / Facts of life

Biological determinism,   p. 23

Page 23

Biological Determinism 
Jockeying for position at the starting line 
in our casts and hormones, bad haircuts, wheelchairs, 
crutches, banana carts, awaiting word from heaven, 
the Girls Ward, we're tense and ready or already 
giving up when our nurse fires her starter pistol. 
We race up the hallway, bumping and thrashing 
toward our biological destiny. 
Only one can win whatever it is out there 
at the other end of the dark hall, only one, 
and we push and jostle and trick each other 
to be the only one, to get there first, to daim our rightful prize: 
to park next to the bed of the prettiest crippled girl 
in the hospital. You boys were horrible 
to those girls, swarming around that one like flies 
and crushing all the others. Like we ourselves were crushed, 
crippled prizes, chipped loving cups, slightly cracked goblets, 
chairs with three pretty good legs. Lisa was our holy grail- 
forgive me, Darlene, forgive me, Wanda-she was the light 
we yearned to buzz around, the screen we smacked our heads against. 
One night I got off free and clear, strong in shoulder and arm, 
I left them all behind and sailed into the Girls Ward alone, 
the only one. But I was too soon, my prize lying down, 
I couldn't find her, didn't recognize her until 
she was surrounded by those who finally caught up. 
My crippled love was lost, is lost still, and all I have 
to give is slightly salty on the skin, the musk that comes 
and goes, my twisted leanings, my violent falls, 
and getting up, again, again, again. 

Go up to Top of Page