They Are Everywhere

This poem was inspired by a recent injury, I hope you can relate.

the old and frail
the invalid and weak
suddenly, i see them

i’ve always been courteous
standing on Manolo shoes
holding doors and lifts

for the old and frail
the invalid and weak
my small contribution

i’ve always been considerate
dedicating time here and there
and totter off, afterwards

to my normal life―
laced with four-inch heels
tools for self-empowerment.

They are everywhere
the old and frail
the invalid and weak

they stand on crutches
they lean on rollators
they move on wheelchairs

they give me a knowing smile
and i want to shout and say
“Oh this is temporal.
It’s a sports injury you see,”

but instead i smile
with renewed respect
for I, really see them.

Khaya Ronkainen

9 Comments

  1. Khaya, this brought me to tears. I most definitely can relate (I’ve had injuries requiring crutches or I would throw out my back being termorarily incapacitated). Now that I have a disability all I want is for people to see me and not my white cane. As I’m sure you are now aware, when you have to use any kind of physical tool for independence it can make you feel a little conspicuous and people can react in the strangest ways. I too wouild do the right thing by being courteous and such but I also always tried to see the person though I’m sure there were many, many times I fell short. Having a son, mother and a best friend (all of whom have disabilities) I was a little more sensitive to the issue but in the back of my mind I sometimes wondered if I could have done better in any given interaction. I guess we can only do the best we can but seeing your relization put into words really made it make sense to me. Thank you for sharing and I hope you feel better soon. Oh and watch out for those 4″ heels (my faves although my back tends to disagree with me).

    1. Oh, Steph! This is touching. Thank you for sharing your story. I, indeed now have a better understanding of the challenges and limitations that injuries, disabilities and even old age bring about. The injury has forced me to slow down (literally) but I’m grateful for the renewed awareness it gave me. I am getting better, at least I can now walk without the assistance of crutches. Thank you for well wishes and for reading.

      1. I’m glad to hear you’re on the mend Khaya. Being limited can be so frustrating especially when it has to do with mobility. Whenever I would sprain my ankle or hurt my back I hated limping around. As a fast walker, slowing down is a pain but quite necessary when injured. Now that I’m getting older I’m also beginning to groan when getting up from a seated position (I swore I’d never do this lol), but I’m grateful to be able to still move about. I hear you on awareness , it’s a crucial piece in advocacy efforts. Awareness + Acceptance = Change

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