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When You Pass Me on the Street: a Poem About Disability

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When you pass me on the street, you always try to turn away and avoid my searching eyes

When I attempt to speak to you, you merely give me blank stares and overly frustrated sighs

When I opt to sit at the table next to yours, you rise and move to another one much farther away

When I dare to ask you a question, you do not even try to understand me and hear what I have to say

If, by chance, you do somehow glance my way, your eyes are so often filled with disgust and fear

And you simply do not care to see the pain that you cause while, from my eye, escapes an unseen tear

Sometimes, I feel as if nobody can actually see me for the person I am; perhaps, I’m truly invisible

Why must you choose to either totally ignore me or judge me with eyes so piteous and miserable?

Why do you view me with such a glacial heart and not see the real person who is living inside?

You cannot see the way in which you treat me makes me want to find a dark place to hide

Why is it that you look upon me as being so different than yourself and as such a mysterious alien?

Is it possible for you not to judge me and see that I’m just like you, a common Homo sapien?

Am I so grotesque to you that you cannot stand, for an instant, to simply smile and look at my face?

Are you really that uncomfortable to see me outside of my proper position and accepted place?

All you notice about me is how my words are so unintelligible and how my movements are so erratic

You see me through your biased lens of intolerance and assume that my head is full of senseless static

My bent and twisted frame blinds you to the fact that I have genuine feelings and a sensitive heart

It is impossible for you to see that your cold and condescending stares are tearing my self-esteem apart

I just wish that you would only slow down and take the time to get to know me as a human being

You might be surprised to discover the extent to which the experience could be liberating and freeing

Just stop whatever it is you happen to be so busy doing and chat with me for a little while

Perhaps, you would be pleasantly surprised to find that I might even bring to your face a smile

And perhaps, I can make your long-held prejudices and preconceived notions come to an end

And maybe, you might discover that I can be a kindred spirit and possibly even a lifelong friend.

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Thinkstock photo by Werner Images.

Originally published: November 12, 2017
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