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It is showing up at your boyfriend’s office

wearing nothing but brightly colored

sneakers—the left one built up

one and a half inches to improve your gait—

and a trench coat. Your flowered cane

is propped against the wall because you need

both hands to unbutton the coat, reveal

your naked body: matching tangles of scars

at the hips, raised blooms to set off pale,

freckled skin.


It is being unable to grab your lover’s

hand, walk side by side to your apartment door.

Holding hands—the physical connection

of his fingers covering yours—turns

violent. Limping tosses your body away

from his. Now the purpose of his grasp is to keep

you upright, on equal footing.


It is equipment. If it weren’t for the blue

four wheeled walker—complete with black

plastic seat in case you tire—and your bouquet

of multicolored canes, you would have been able

to fit a king-sized bed. When he enters

the bedroom, the red scarf you’ve draped

over the lamp doesn’t fool him. He tells you

it still looks like a hospital room. When you display

your naked body across the quilt, he tells you

it still feels like he’s bedding someone’s grandmother.


Erin Lynn Marsh is a poet living and working in Bemidji, MN. She is the author of Disability Isn’t Sexy (Jules Poetry Playhouse Publications, 2019), which was nominated for a 2019 New Mexico-Arizona Book Award. Her work has appeared in Post Road Magazine, Sugar House Review, Paper Darts, Emrys Journal,, and the anthology Hers: Poets Speak (while we still can), Vol. 2 (Beatlick Press and Jules’ Poetry Playhouse Publications, 2017), edited by Jules Nyquist. She was a 2019/2020 Region 2 Arts Council Artist Fellow and was previously awarded two Individual Artist Grants. You can find her online at

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