I have several chronic physical and mental health conditions and neurological differences that serve as inspiration for poems about health, healing and coping with limitations or challenges of the body and mind. Among them, I am autistic and have inattentive ADD as well as episodes of anxiety and major depressive disorder, and a genetic connective tissue disorder called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome which makes my joints hypermobile and all of me fragile and easily injured. EDS affects all systems of the body and causes many other comorbid conditions because connective tissue is the glue holding the body together.
I do not define myself by labels, though they inform my identity and experience in many ways. I am sharing them for the sake of solidarity, in the hopes that some of my poetry may offer some comfort or inspiration to others who live with similar labels and experiences.
I’m sorry for all the things I taught you
when I was still learning to be myself.
I’m sorry for all you learned inside me,
the monologues I baptized your splitting cells with
on long walks home from the train
after working on my feet all day
or on the way to the laundromat,
pushing the cart over packed snow—
at the sink, on my knees, at the stove,
hanging the rags to dry; and finally, in dreams—
once I felt I’d earned the right to sleep.
I’m sorry for the way I said it was,
the things I said we do for love.
I said it like a prayer, while getting him tea
in the hours I didn’t need to be awake in.
This is how we love…