I am the shape in the darkness you fear.
I am the lengthening shadow in the dusty, gloomy corners,
etched in grey against the fading, falling light.
I am the dream you wake from in the night,
blessedly free again from a world in which you were
I am the terror you feel when you see a woman with crutches,
dragging herself a few metres down the road, every step agony.
I am here, watching, when you say “But I’m not disabled.”
I am here, listening, when you say “But disability isn’t all about wheelchairs.”
I can hear you (did you know?) when you shout “Can you believe I wasn’t allowed to skip the queue!
And me with my dodgy ankle!”
(I want you to come on my epic journey to work with me one day.
But you’ll be too busy.)
I politely look away when the next thing you say is
how very inconvenient it is for you
to arrange a downstairs venue.
I smile and say “Nothing serious” when I’m asked “What happened?”
by people who haven’t asked my name.
I smile and say “Of course!” when they ask if I’ll help make things better,
hoping against experience that this time,
just this time,
it might be different.
I still don’t see information about access to your festival,
And you mumble and rumble at me when I ask.
Do you know what I have to offer?
Will you ever open the gate wide enough to know that I can see
patterns in the darkness?
So I bury my terrible grief at every step I take,
dragging myself on iron bars,
wrenching movement from this useless
But I still feel it, moving in the darkness.
I still mourn the loss of life with every iron-clad step I take,
So I still sit alone at home, praying for change.
(There’s not much else to do here anymore.)
I can see a long way in the darkness.
You’ll have to look much, much deeper
to see me shining there.