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Francis Golm

My Ex, The Physiotherapist


I find it strange when she asks,
"Is it OK if I touch you?"
glimpse a tenderness reserved
for strangers,
a ceremony we've long since
abandoned.


Her asexual touch examines me
as she explains,
"Relax, relax;
"we're looking for spaces
"your body can move in to."


Her fingers smooth in
butterfly strokes
from my breastbone out
from my breastbone out


eyes closed
head to the side
she maps me


"Is there always this much tension?"
A tone of incredulity.
She lifts my arm
and notes the poor shoulder mobility.


I flounder like a paralysed back stroker
in a drained swimming pool.


"This stretches the infraspinitus,"

she informs me, professionally,

as we bashfully wait

for a space to open up


her hands finding me, as a client,
for the first time, as I am,

just as stubborn when,

to my surprise, so unlike me,
my shoulder yields
and she pins my wrist
to the floor.


"Aha!"


Suddenly, we are back to how we were

The upper hand hers.