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Turned Leg Origin Story (Also About Belonging) by Lauren Endicott

My realtor friend said come watch

thick-necked men from Savers pack up

the old gingerbread mansion by the bridge.

Are there fissures in the universe where

pure love seeps through? The widow

has moved to assisted living and is survived

by one feather shuttlecock, two razor blades.

A rubber snake belly up on wide plank hardwood.

My friend said take what you like, but I do not

believe her yet (eying sister owl andirons who wink

from the kitchen hearth). The late husband, a furniture

maker, left beside his woodshop door a crate full

of scrapped table legs. The lathe has long gone. I touch

one as I would an arrowhead, an orchid. I think I will

then only hold it just to hold it but a new knowing

blesses my bones—

This house loves me. The turned leg, a rough

tower of discs and spools, points to the jail

of my ribs. It dubs me a keeper of my own dime-

sized life. I shrink. I am held by horsehair plaster

walls papered in yellow roses and I have now a radiant

sense of being not at all special. Radiant because silver

leaps from the river to greet anyone who pauses here

to wonder about a self. About its precious inconsequence.

With a glitter wave the house also loves a dark-eyed boy.

The spindly teen who shoulders a bespoke nightstand. He

teeters down the narrow listing back staircase, is washed

in flecks of river sun. He is missing his college friends. The lofty

spaces where he learns to move like they move. Now from inside

a body too long for his childhood bed he watches summer months

yawn wide and he avoids me. He thinks himself an interloper, too,

but the hand railing squeezes his hip. The house, the turned leg.

They say to us both: Enough. You belong everywhere.


This is a discarded furniture leg made of red oak recovered from an 1846 Gothic revival home prior to its recent sale. It was turned on a lathe sometime in the 1970s-1980s by a late hobbyist furniture maker. He was a Navy veteran and the former chair of the earth sciences department at MIT where he studied the earth’s crust. He lived a rich life with his family in the greater Boston area before he died of complications following heart surgery. The furniture leg, which is of little to no monetary value, is now displayed on the bookshelf of a poet and student who never knew its maker.


Lauren Endicott (IG: @laurenelizabethpoet) is an emerging poet with pieces published or forthcoming in Burningword Literary Journal, Ghost City Review, Barren Magazine, West Trade Review, and others. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in social work in the greater Boston area where she lives with her spouse and two children.


Wray - Hypatia


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