for Walt Whitman
I. The Knee
Bones, joints, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, muscles,
fibrous thickenings and fluid-filed capsules and sacs
make locomotion possible.
The femur, patella and tibia move
The fibula bears weight.
The tibiofemoral joint bends
the patellofemoral joint grooves
the rings of Meniscus absorb
the smooth white tissue of the articular cartilage transfers
loads of tremendous force.
The cruciate ligaments cross over each other
the collateral ligaments support
both link femur to tibia
the quadriceps tendon attaches
the quad muscles to the patella.
That four headed muscle of the femur, the quads,
with its vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedium
and rectus femoris bend and straighten.
The hamstrings, those string-like tendons in the hollow of the knee—
the semitendinosus, semimembranosus
and biceps femoris—extend and flex.
The adductor longus and the gracilis keep the runner upright
the beefy stomach of the leg, the gastrocnemius, points and lifts
the popliteus, devoted solely to the knee, rotates and unlocks
the Iliotibial band stabilizes and assists
the synovial fluid lubricates
and the bursae reduce friction.
O I say these are not the parts and poems of the body only, but of the soul,
O I say the soul of the runner is the knee!