Home > Poetry > Essay Fragment: Moral Model of Disability
Published: Mon Sep 21 2020
Diego Isaias Hernández Méndez, Convertiendse en Characoteles / Sorcerers Changing into Their Animal Forms (detail), 2013, oil on canvas. Arte Maya Tz’utujil Collection.
Online 2020 Gender Illness Spirituality
Essay Fragment: Moral Model of Disability
That winter we keptfinding the wings
of pigeons pulled from their sockets.Viscera deleted
by the rain. A symbolstripped of its meaning.
Worry bead mistakenfor a pebble. My mother
will not admit to our historyheirloom of disease.
Once, malformed childrenwere dashed against the rocks
slay the child, spareyour now unburdened blood.
My chest is rivered with cracksmy sternum broken like
an ox. My father tells methat a wolf will eat
their own youngthose too weak to survive.
This morning, a stranger in the strip malloffered blessing palms
to pull this shattered bone intochurch’s sharp-edged mercy.
This disabled body is always productor vessel
[of sin/for mercy].Always this body of crooked back
& sidestepped gender. Body of apple-taker
& rib-giver. This body of ungiftings
worth prayingaway.


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torrin a. greathouse is a transgender cripple-punk and author of Wound from the Mouth of a Wound (Milkweed Editions, 2020). Their work has appeared in Ploughshares, New England Review, TriQuarterly, AGNI, and Kenyon Review. She is an MFA candidate at University of Minnesota and assistant editor of The Shallow Ends. (updated 9/2020)

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