Latissimus dorsi

This post is for Caroline Williams aka The Good Therapist, who does marvellous work on my troublesome back.  My writing group prompt a couple of weeks ago was “a part of your own body” so she helped me out with some muscle names.


Under my arm, at bra-strap level,
Is a round old-penny-worth
Of clear red pain. A panic button
Only discovered by touch.

Its equal match balances the scales
On the left side of my torso.
Neither dominant, they weigh out
My well-balanced stress.

My massage therapist tells me
That this is latissimus dorsi
The climbing muscle. When was I last
On the mountains? Or even

A ladder? The metal-mesh test tower
Is eliminated from enquiries,
As my fear of heights forces
The use of the stairs.

My over-dramatic Elizabeth Taylor
Sleeping pose, and my weak left-handed
Scroll-and-click are ruled out as
One-sided affairs. With no reason

It resists the painstaking, pain-taking
Work of the massage: it renews itself
Week after week. I can only conclude
That my dream-self is climbing.

She steps off the corporate ladder
Takes a parallel route through forest
And unknown jungle. Latissimus dorsi
Recalls monkey origins,

A tree-climber at last. Climbing the peaks
Of a new world; the clouds and the spires
Above earthbound life. Finding her spirit,
Taking the untrod route.

The red button serving to fasten
My climbing harness, and my angel wings.

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