by Liel Bridgford


                                                                                                                                                                        My body crashes

                                                                                                                                                against white noise waves

                                                                                                                                   I am sinking

                                                                                                into a dead person’s sleep

                                                                                take me with you, I say

                                                                to no wave in particular

                                                a thought I find comfort in

                                the awareness of this escape

                because the body knows

it doesn’t belong

When every doctor, so called health professional say

                                I am a problem – sorry – I have a problem

                                                                                                it seeps in so deep that

                                                                                                                                every single one of my bones

                                                                                                                                                                                                feel it

                                                                                                                                                They don’t care about their

                                                                                                                missing companions, nor do I,

                                                                                those bones who went missing

                in the cosmos – in another time and space

No –

                but my bones here pulse and shake

                                                at the sight of stair-only entry

                                                                                and cobblestones

                                                                                                my nerves scream at the sounds of saw,

                                                                                                                   reminded of the one that cut through them

                                                                                                                                     My ligaments flutter with my heart

                                                                                                                   at the prospect of a group activity

                                                                                                   because those other humans –

                                                                                as close as they may seem,

                                                                     are a world apart,

                                living somewhere their bodies fit

                leaving me


And how does one explain this

                                                no word in either of my languages

                                                                is sufficient to express the isolation –

                                                                                                like living behind tinted glass

                                                                                                                and every step in your staircase

                                                                                                                                                                                      is a splash

                                                                                                                      against our ability to see one another

                                                                                                   against our ability to touch

                                                                                against our ability to live

                                                and every sharp-edged feeling –

                                my anger – scratches the glass

     taking us both further



                memories of a kid at school

                                sticking his leg in front of my crutch

                                                desperate to see me crash – helpless

                                                                                                memories of a doctor

                                                                                                                taking liberty with my body

                                                                                                                                his power and my silence – helpless

                                                                                memories of them saying I can’t –

                watching others live from wobbly benches –


They live inside me –

                  every joke about my braces

                                     every stare in the schoolyard

                                                                     every unwanted touch

                                                                                                every laugh at my pain

                                                                                                                every holding of my limbs to comply

                                                                                                                                        with a questionable treatment –

                                                                                they live inside me like pests

cockroaches crawling under my skin at night

                                                & every stare from you on the street

                                                                                & every ‘what happened’ –

                                                                                                                awaken the cockroaches

                                                                                                                                 the glass is scratched and spattered 

                                                                                                living behind it is exhausting 

                                                                I cannot see you                                                                                                                                                 more importantly

    you cannot see


So my mind thinks again

                                take me with you

                                                to no wave in particular

                                                                                and to all of them

                                                                                                                all at once

A person with shoulder length dark hair and glasses, wearing a dark v-neck top and a necklace with a gold heart pendant

Liel Bridgford is a Psychologist (Provisional), writer, educator, podcaster, and a disability and justice advocate based in Naarm. Her work appears in ABC Arts, MamaMia, We’ve Got This published by Black Inc., and Mascara Literary Review, amongst others. Liel was an ABC TOP 5 Arts resident, Writing Place Editor, and is the creator and host of the (Un)marginalised podcast.

Next: Baby Born by Arty Owens


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