Dead at My Age Dorothea Lange 70 Photographer by Margo Mensing

Seventy   I see nimble to the door   learn to put two o’s
in rheumatologist   insert an a in orthopaedic   I sign
the consent   permit the surgeon to slit my wrist   whittle
my carpal meta carpal   snip my tendon   weave it over under

Through my clean scraped joint   My thumb now holds
its own again   and I go back to work   Dorothea   Dead at
seventy   At the end bones alone   On the opposite coast
your retrospective poised to open   Your hand in it everywhere

your last words fit this expectation —
Isn’t it a miracle it comes at the right time?
Did legacy count that much with you? I never
thought fame’s yardstick your driving force

Somewhere else months later I found another version
You said, It’s in scale


Margo Mensing has recently completed a sonnet cycle on the lives and work of Dorothea Lange and Maynard Dixon.