Here by Cheryl Marie Wade

she’s small for her age moon faced almost no breast development notice
the classic deformities of the PIPs f the ulnar deviations deviations are her bowels regular? are they? dear have you had a bowl movement yet? What? she’s small for her age, scoliosited sparse pubic growth, notice the classic
deformities of the MIPs the radial deviations has she started menses yet? has she? dear have you started your period yet? What? she’s small for her age round shouldered rise and shine, time for adoerol, aspirin, benydrel, cortizol, darvoset, demerol, What? She’s small for age, pigeon-toed, she’s small for her age, knock-kneed, rise and shine time for bed rest , exercise, hot pads, ice packs, bed rest, rise and shine, she’s small for her age she’s small for her age, deformity, clean canth, sed rate, scope the shit, dear
just a little pin prick to the bone marrow, done to the ear drum, cut off the nodule, realign , cut, scrape, saw, deformity, she’s small for her age, small for her age, NO! How do you get from there to self-esteem and empowerment in one lifetime? Well, out of necessity, Anger is a good start. NO! No has fueled many a revolution and I found it incredibly helpful to pay attention to
those tiny moments of grace that life does offer. Sarah, who is 3 and too young to understand personal or political ramifications of different, holds my hands in hers and says, “o-o- like marshmellow!” Mine are the hands of your bad dreams Boga-Boga from behind the black curtain, claw hands, the ivory girl’s hands after a decade of roughing it cringled, puckered, sweaty and scarred a young woman’s dwarfed and knobby hands that ache for moonlight that tremble and struggle hands that make your eyes tear, my hands my hands, my hands that grace your brow, your thigh, my hands my hands in your hands. Some times you have to work on the small parts before you can get to the whole (sigh) Diferences sometimes they’re a little ackward for instance, I love watching rain. Rain is cooling colors, greens no longer talk so loud and bricks on that old little house on the
corner they’re hue rich, full blooded from the rain I love watching rain looking through my window, work spread out before me with my picture of Elvis lean and nasty eyed and wonder eyed and if feel like it a blast of Springsteen all wounded dreams and pretty girls. I love
watching rain curled by a cracklin fire kitten at my elbow , but not stuck under the Magnolia in the yard Buddhist temple electric
wheelchair taking on water like the hull of the Andrea Doria I love watching rain, but not stuck under a damm Magnolia because I’m still vain enough to hate how I look in rain gear like a pup tent on wheels I love watching rain from the van at the headlands midnight colors at noon, oceans foaming, mossy against gnarls and crags such pleasure I take in the spit and hiss, the salty stench sweet earth as she cools and renews I love watch rain sprawled before a roaring fire Courvoisier at my my elbow, but not stuck in JC Penney’s doorway like an oddball, abstract sculpture a pigeon perch in the doorway awaiting the next bus load of tourists, I love watching rain from a well stocked oasis feet
propped up on a pillow but most especially I love watching rain on the rare occasion I remeber machine flash lead separate lives and I tilt my face to the blackest
cloud until my hair is seal slick and my clothes
have to be peeled the skin from a peach, then o-o-o I love watching rain as it poundis against my thigh and zings off my elbows. WET! (applause) And I didn’t say it was all ackward being in the world the best having a community. I never had a community until moving to Berkley and the great thing about it is you get to meet other people other people like yourself who help you learn a little more about what your possibilities might be make friends and of course I like my friends SASSY! like club foot Annie wearing bright red shoes, yeah, like Harriet the hair-lip delivering the news like old blind Wilma reading a novel a day just any doing it no ordinary way and Cappacino Debbie and deafy La Rue you can’t keep up with the talking they do. Now who you calling crazy Mary Louise she’s the one who know how to talk to the trees, yeah, you clap hand you shimmy and shout, you rock your tired ideas right out SASSY Girls! A-HA, like monta switching a word and Diana she flies like a bird Like all of us crips sing a struggling tune and at midnight together HOWL at the Moon! You clap hands you shimmy and shake nothing but your of worn out notions at stake you skip a rope, you hear that sound ain’t nothing but a bunch of stereo-types hitting the ground you clap hands, you shimmy and shout, you rock your tired ideas right out like SASSY Girls A-HA SASSY Girls ,yeah! But one does not live by community alone. intimacy the final frontier here we hit separately cloaked I in my deformity tuxedo you wearing confidence like a feathered hat today you bring clever word choices and fine wine, I bring spring colors and all moods we chink glasses, offer toasts I to the firm firmness of your thigh you to my green eyes you plumb pillows remarking Kierkegaard was right about so many things no doubt I say, as I watch the flicker of the cat’s tail, sunlight streaking his amber coat, we nod and smile. I play shadow games distracted by twists and knarls but when the sky turns midnight blue you swear and I believe me that my curled paws are sequined slivers of the moon Of course that’s in the beginning of a relationship, you know before you’re even calling it that, when you are just sharing moments. After 13 years easier to watch TV tonight thanl be aware of our bodies together, two gimps working at love, but then your hand, your hands reassuring me, your hands, your lips, your thighs, slow down, your eyes, oh yeah, your Irish eyes, your lips, your thighs the welcome, pitch and roll two gimps, yeah, working at love a woman and man in many love working at love there is a woman here, middle-aged in her prime with long legs and a short fuse, a woman who loves to write poems and dance, I have rhythm in the marrow laughter too I love to laugh and laugh there was a woman here who has scares visible and otherwise, more than you’ld want to know more than I want to count, a woman who believes in magic, I long for magic I love stones before they’re polished I can picture Springsteen ‘s thighs there is a woman here with a stiff back, an incredible flexibility who tells lies for protection and
the truth for survival who sits in a chair on wheels and hauls sacks of self-doubt as if she’s a stevedore a woman survives to dream. Dreams I bring hair in my dreams, I have electric hair and need to loved, soft, soft lips and hate to be loved, I shadowed by memory and want to be loved full round hips and I’m afraid to be loved I love so easily, there is a woman here full of colors, a survivor who survives to be a woman. HERE! And in closing I’d just like to say, I am NOT one of thena physically challenged, ugh, ugh I’m a sock in the eye with knarled fist I’m a French Kiss with cleft tongue I’m orthopedic shoes sewn on the last of your fears. I am NOT one of the differently abled. I’m an epiteth four a million imperfect babies letft untreated, I’m an icon carved in bone from a mass grave Tiergarden Germany I’m wethered legs, hidden with a blanket I am NOT one of the able disabled, I’m a black panther with green eyes and scars like a picket fence I’m pink lace panties teasing a stub of milk white thigh and I’m the evil eye, I’m the first cell divided, I’m mud that talks, I’m Eve, I’m Kali, I’m the mountain that never moves, I’ve been here forever, I’ll be here forever, I’m the gimp, I’m the cripple, I’m the crazy lady, I’m the woman with JUICE! poll

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