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Sport 26: Autumn 2001

Kate Camp — On making people amputees

page 176

Kate Camp

On making people amputees

On the bus the simple man
was asking questions.

Do you have a mother?
he asked the tracksuit girl.

has a mother

she said and it was a

with which we all silently

Why do trains have brakes?
he asked the driver.

So they don't go right through

Outside was a red-faced man
with his trousers tucked into his socks

on the back of his bike his jacket
flapped like the jacket of a man back

from the war, a jacket without an arm
in it.

page 177

I read your story last night and it made me cry
but having already applied

substantial and unfamiliar eyeshadow
I ran and caught the teardrops with a tissue.

There are twenty-eight tears in the average cry
but there weren't quite as many as that.

After we had been to spill food on our nice
clothes we made some jokes about making people

amputees as in the case
where a story might benefit from judicious

pruning. It is no surprise then that I dreamed of wild
storms at the beach house and of the dog

that only part of my brain knows is dead
and how worried I was not remembering

what I'd done
with her.

I never see her now.
It's amazing

with what little regularity
you run into the dead

in town or just
around, they are different

from other people
in that way.