To The Public: A Note On My Brother From His Sister Who Loves Him… - Poem by DeAnna Esquilin
The able bodied never know what it means to be shipwrecked in a bustling metropolis.
We do not meet the staircase as mountains
Or know the true sacrifice of the “long way” by force
Your fridge a barricade
The sidewalk a cliff
Your Wheelchair your life line
To be physically challenged is to be the snail in a race with greyhounds.
We do not experience
The undeserved leers of interlopers
“Tisk” “Tisking” in backward glances of subtle egotism
(As if you paid for your able body off the rack at Macy’s)
To be physically challenged often means:
To have strangers lay pity at your feet
To be condescended to
To be hurried
To look away and be shuddered at.
How fortunate to be you?
Or sometimes the assaults come on deeper scales
The words “bravery” and “courage”
Are used to describe your extistence
Not your character or deeds.
Such paltry lipservice.
Like ash in the mouths of drones!
(Even from family)
Lying armies of vapid bees
Forever buzzing but saying NOTHING.
At nearly 40 he visits me in my dreams the day of our Mother’s wake.
A twig holding back a tsunami
My brother howled tears
With such sincere surrender to despair's darkness,
To hear it, gives way to moments
posssed by the the terminus of her death.
That I cannot consider it
without doom nesting in me for days.
That was the first time I saw him.
And it occurs to me,
Only now in adulthood
How well he economizes pain
How negotiated his complexity.
How seemingly effortless he relates to others
Despite such poignant & profound alienation
So if you’re asked to be patient
He has been patient a lifetime longer than you
If you extend your hand to assist
Extend it as his equal
Because you could never be sure
Which of you is the inferior
Spare him your pity
Endear that to people who “choose” an existence of helplessness
His charity and yours mean very different things
The bow of his legs
The deformity of his limbs
His inability for speech
Are but limits of his body
Not his mind
Not his heart
His centeredness is one few know
And most of all:
Be kind to him because he is kind
With small deep gorges of blue
He has my mother’s eyes
He will speak to you with them
And you will know her same tenderness
His mutual respect.
His unwavering commiment to justice.
His fierce, deep resolve for love.
And he will smile.
Because he smiles thru endurance
He is a Mammoth on wheels
Living in the deep knowing of emotional mobility
To truly know him
Is to know with clarity
That the world is much more disabled
Then he has ever been.
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