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Poem: "Going Places" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poem: "Going Places"

This poem came out of the June 3, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from moriwen1.  It also fills the "wingfic" square in my 6-1-14 card for the Genprompt Bingo fest.  This poem has been sponsored by zianuray.  It belongs to the series Fledgling Grace.

Going Places

Her legs didn't work;
they had never worked;
they never would work.

Isra got around,
when she had to,
in a wheelchair.

She could do it;
she did it for things
like grocery shopping
and running errands
that couldn't be done
online or on the phone.

She just didn't enjoy it.

Isra never went anywhere
just for fun; yes, of course,
she could have gone,
but it would not have been fun,
so there would be no point.

Then the Fledging came,
and she sprouted
the wings and tail
of a bald eagle.

The wings worked.

It took time,
but Isra learned
how to wrap herself in grace,
discovered how to fly,

and then she didn't
need her legs or her wheelchair,
not anymore.

She could go somewhere
just for the fun of it,
and actually enjoy herself.

Isra flew around town.
She went shopping for things
that she did not, strictly speaking, need.
She went to movies because
she wanted to, not because
her friends dragged her.

The more she used her wings,
the stronger they got.
Powerful muscles developed
along her shoulders, even though
her grace took most of the weight.

Isra flew wider and farther.
She went to the county fair
and then to the state fair.
She went to a zoo and
laughed to see the peacocks
displaying their own feathers.

Isra gave away most of her things
and told her landlord that
she was moving out.

She kept a backpack
with everything she needed,
including a little folding map
of America's greatest attractions.

Isra had wings:
she never wanted
to go home again.

* * *


Erasure is an issue in mainstream and speculative entertainment.  This includes a variety of flaws from omitting people with disabilities, through showing a narrow selection of them, to the infamous "cure" plot.  I like to explore what happens when a handicap can be compensated for but not removed.  Here Isra gains mobility, but not functional legs, and that affects her experiences.

People may feel bound or unbound by a wheelchair, often a combination of both.  Social perspectives and literary portrayals of disability have changed over time.  There are ways to cope with feelings about disability and to enhance daily life for a handicapped person.

This poem deals with the kind of feelings about disability that people rarely talk about, because handicapped people are often expected to be cheerful and "overcome" their limitations.  For a countervailing view of a character who considers her wheelchair liberating, see the series P.I.E. and especially "The Freedom Machine."  Tell all the stories!

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6 comments or Leave a comment
rix_scaedu From: rix_scaedu Date: June 8th, 2014 05:01 am (UTC) (Link)
"She kept a backback"

Should this be 'backpack' or is it a variation I haven't run into before?
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 8th, 2014 05:24 am (UTC) (Link)


It should say "backpack," thanks for catching that.
From: siliconshaman Date: June 8th, 2014 10:51 am (UTC) (Link)
If I had wings...I think I'd pretty much do the same. A lot of people have that wanderlust but not the means to scratch the itch.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 8th, 2014 06:13 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I appreciate the feedback. It's good to hear that this resonates with people.
siege From: siege Date: June 9th, 2014 12:48 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thank you!

I think personally, I'd keep a home, but travel as widely as my wings allowed. The pains we suffer can influence what we do when they are relieved.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 9th, 2014 01:45 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thank you!

>> I think personally, I'd keep a home, but travel as widely as my wings allowed. <<

Me too.

>> The pains we suffer can influence what we do when they are relieved. <<

Very much so.
6 comments or Leave a comment