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Blog - Richard Downes

100 Meters – Clubfoot


A word memory found in the Poetry Library whilst reading an old, cherished poet who used the word infrequently. I think of Clubfoot sometimes and what happened the next day following my subsequent refusal of a date. My shame will not let me name her. I was young. As was she. We shared space on the dance floor in an institution. Our differences gender and impairment. Today I’m much older and take responsibility for the words I choose to use. Just as I am responsible for the things I thought about people I lived with way back then. There was nothing wrong with Clubfoot. I just wasn’t ready for dating.

100 Meters – Clubfoot

We danced to music once
I held your waist
And felt your strangeness

I cannot remember the tune
But I know the room
And all the hopeful faces

It wasn’t you but me
Who could not stand
Strangeness or attention

I’m sorry
I did not know
The mods would stop their marching

I’m still racked with guilt
All these years on
For not facing the threat
Or for accepting your invitation to dance

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