top of page


In the dark, this body breathes

into itself, the half with less

sensation, the half that feels it all.

I exhale the word hemiplegia,

my personal equator. For here,

with this particular floor

holding me up, division is gone.

During the butterfly stretch,

my husband had invaded

my thoughts. I felt that pull

in my inner thighs

and realized he's the one

who seems numb now.

We moved into cobra then,

my chest so open I saw my heart

on its axis and turned it.

In a room full of strangers

curved into upward waves,

I said goodbye.

Click to hear this poem out loud.

SISTER HANDS has been previously published in Wordgathering.


Ona Gritz's books include the poetry collections, Geode, a finalist for the Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award, and Border Songs: A Conversation in Poems, written with her husband Daniel Simpson. Her poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Catamaran Literary Reader, The Bellevue Literary Review, Beauty Is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability, and elsewhere. She and Daniel served as poetry editors for Referential Magazine and co-edited More Challenges For the Delusional, a writing guide and anthology featuring prompts by Peter Murphy. Ona is also a children's author and essayist. Her nonfiction is listed among Notables in Best American Essays and Best Life Stories in Salon.

Click to read this piece in the Disability Pride Anthology.

bottom of page