THAT CRIPPLED KID
What did our elders expect of us?
We weren't the ones badly constructed. He was.
Coming from homes where everyone was reasonably well put-together,
imagine our shock to share a classroom with someone so malformed.
The teacher instructed us to act like there was nothing wrong with the kid.
That merely encouraged our callousness.
Wasn't it enough that we ran while he hobbled,
that there was never a game in which he could join in.
One leg was wrapped in metal.
Both feet were fitted in ugly brown boots.
He walked like one limb was a shovel digging in the dirt
while the other came down stiff as a fencepost.
Those were days when we caught lizards by the tail,
picked mulberries, swam in the lake,
anything it seems to make that kid feel out of it.
We had the bodies to go with our hearts and minds.
Good jobs, happy families, were our God-given right.
Not so the one that God took his unfairness out on.
How it must have seemed to him as if the rest of us
had more good health than we needed,
as if there must be a cripple in every crowd,
so everyone else can walk upright on two legs.
Is it the cussedness of luck
to have the one take on the pain of the many?
For the hale and hearty to not thank him for it
but ridicule his sacrifice?
Since then, I've felt some of what he went through,
but more in the moment, not all the time.
My down moments don’t make war with my body.
I still feel whole. I see no reason to avoid me.