I’ve no such use for new knees,
those new titanium knees.
They weren’t there, in the garden,
planting our first seeds, gravel pocked
and stinging. They weren’t there
to scrub stains from the floorboards.
They never lowered me gently into grief.
Those are not the knees of a boy
on a beach, new to sand, water,
and the hard wash of tide –
not the knees of a boy crouched
savage at river’s edge, sipping poisons
in the runoff and melt – not the knees
that slowed my stride in marriage
on a green day walked in the pace of us.
No, those are not my knees.
My knees shake and creak,
ache and crack unstooped.
My knees are mangled with scars
and too much kneeling – too much prayer –
too much pleading.
No, I will stand on the old knees,
those that never failed to lift me up,
unbroken, and ready
to take that next sure step toward death.