Left and Right

Left and Right

It started with left and right.
When it’s left, it’s never right
and when it’s right it’s never right…..

It started with left and right.
When it’s left, it’s never right
and when it’s right it’s never right.
So there she sits cross-legged
at the side of a sparkling creek,
stumped like an ageing log
with an ornamental toad on top,
wiping tears off her right cheek,
or maybe it’s her left,
not that it matters a toot now.
And she’s misplaced her favourite hankie
that’s useless anyway because snot
blows right through the lace into her hand,
and she wonders how she could be so lost
when she’s holding a map in front of her face.

She just doesn’t know which way
to hold it; this way up or that way up.
That way up means going left, she thinks,
but confirms it by holding
an imaginary pen in her right hand
to see if a pen feels right
in those fingers. Problem is
a pen’s never felt right in that hand
because she should be left-handed
but Mrs. White in 1st grade
used to smack her left hand
with a ruler until it was
bruised and cut whenever she reached
her left hand for a pen.

But scissors still fit into her
left hand – so there Mrs. White.

She sniffs and wipes a silver streak
of snot across her sleeve,
and stares at the map again.
She can’t understand how she’s
walked so far and for so long.
She’s tired, she’s cold and
she’s just zigzagged for 36-hours
back and forth along the Continental Divide,
trying to follow the flow
of this cheery looking ice-cold creek
to where she left her car.
She doesn’t know that her car
will be found before she is.


Author: Misky

‘Misky’ lives in the UK surrounded by flowers, freshly baked bread, and always keeps dog biscuits in her pocket for her blind Springer Spaniel. She never buys clothing without pockets. Her work is widely published.

6 thoughts on “Left and Right”

  1. Hold your hands up with the palms facing forward, fingers pointing to the sky and thumbs stretched out to the side at 90 degrees and one side makes an L for left the other doesn’t, though if you are dyslexic that doesn’t necessarily help. I feel sorry for this lady. I want to help her. I get lost all the time too.

  2. At first they both looked like an L but then second glance showed the differences. That’s certainly less obvious than air-writing. I also wear my wedding band on my right hand; that helps, too. ‘marriage; right hand; right decision’ … whereas left doesn’t add up so nicely … ‘marriage and left shouldn’t be allowed to share the same space’. I’m not superstitious – it’s just a method of quick identification without being obvious.

  3. Yes, I should be left-handed. I write with my right, quite well I might add because I had to write lines and lines and lines to improve my penmanship. Scissors go in my left, but pruning shears in my right. Shovel: left-footed. I used to be a runner/sprinter in high school – left foot forward for start always. Use a knife with my right. So I’m just all mixed up, plus this annoying thing with numbers, which is called dyscalculia. I found out that I had that condition when I was in my late-20s.

    1. I’m a leftie and so is B. I think he has dyscalculia too and a bit of dyslexia. On the other hand he can read an IKEA flatpack diagram the way I read a book. We fold sheets beautifully together, like birds turning in a flock on the wing. It’s why I married him.:)

  4. Interesting. I also have a very (very!) high functioning ability for mechanical reasoning. When the garage door crashed to the floor this weekend, I could instantly see how to fix it. Peder couldn’t. It just seemed dead easy to me, probably in the same way that he can do complex algebra in his head.

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