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,
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, wordgathering.com, 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 erinlynnmarsh.com.