Rita Maria Martinez Miami (Anjanette Delgado)
I Write for Cyborgs and Shower Chair Users
I write to discover why my head thumps on the right
but not on the left when the weather plays Russian roulette.
I write to elude Lady Depression who pursues me
like a tenacious tabloid reporter, to transcend confines
of an aching vessel, to venerate this body despite its going
on strike over a week following the Covid vax, to honor ribs
that felt kicked in after, to praise caregivers like my spouse
whose steady hands unspooled a roll of camo-blue kinesio
tape over said ribs making me feel like an Olympic swimmer
in our blue sheets though I could barely roll over.
I humble myself before the majesty of adjustable beds,
revere my splendid Tempur-Pedic, its righteous remote
that gently raises and positions with a mere button push.
This is the closest I've come to living like the Jetsons.
I'm holding out for the George Jetson bathing experience:
almost sentient motion-detecting shower heads and jets
anticipating every need as I’m washed, rinsed, dried,
moisturized to perfection. For now I'm content
with the underappreciated shower chair, brushing my teeth
while seated as my spouse lathers my back and hair.
I esteem the shower chair that welcomes and receives me
during the post-migraine hangover when I'm unsteady.
I write to vent after watching The New Adventures of Old Christine
when Christine's ex-hubby and coworker mock her
asking if she's going to need a shower chair.
Why does society assume only the elderly use shower chairs?
I write to vanquish my timid younger self, obliterate
her fear of offending elders when mother advised silence,
to annihilate the ableist statement disguised as advice.
I write for Paula Kamen's Tired Girls, exhausted legions
of women inwardly rolling their eyes when asked if they’ve tried
yoga or acupuncture, for those with chronic daily headache
and migraine living in Florida where it’s humid and hot
as fuck. For spoonie sisters who’ve been fed some doozies:
You should mow the lawn. You like being sick.
Being tired is a state of mind. I write for peace of mind,
for those who use MAOIs, CGRPs, NSAIDs.
I pay tribute to legions of responsible opioid users--
chronic pain patients deemed suspicious, often treated
like drug-seeking addicts in emergency rooms.
I write for the modified: cyborgs who loathe
metal detectors, borgs boasting internal or external hardware,
implanted with neurostimulators combating back pain,
incontinence, the never-ending migraine.
I write because I'm a cyborg.
Originally published by Tupelo Quarterly as part of a
Disability Poetry Folio curated by Christopher Salerno.