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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

white carpet?

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.

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