The Activist, by Moira Rose
How do you know how to
cure the woman’s limp if
you’ve always walked with two
evenly healthy legs?
Don’t you know she’s prayed
for two healthy legs of her own?
Don’t you know that she’s fallen
asleep to her own soul storming
out of her eyes when the answer comes
that the limp is her gift?
How do you know the choices she
has or hasn’t made
because of this answer?
How do you know if your
heart is failing as she hobbles by
with a bloody trail behind her
and your only concern is the
She won’t even know to feel
anything but shame because
she should have known better than
to leave evidence of her suffering.
Next time she dresses her wounds
with the shirt off her back,
and walks by with only a slight
drag of the leg.
But this time she is doing it
all wrong because too much
of her is showing.
Eventually she learns that
living with undressed wounds,
or living with an overexposed torso
seem to be the only options left.
She cannot curl up with the others
in the shadows with their whispers
and their hope baggage
checked in the light.
We can’t reach the hope in the shadows.
We can’t learn that it is the hope
that will heal our open wounds.
Somehow she is learning to find
the words while all of her is showing.
Somehow she forgets about the
pock marks and blemishes.
She forgets about the stretch marks
and extra rolls of skin.
She can only think of the others
she’s left in the shadows,
and how much more beautiful
we will all look in the light.