Breath & Shadow
A Journal of Disability Culture and Literature
By Akua Lezli Hope
The Mennonite boys came
with a mother, this time. Her gold
disk earrings molten in cold spring.
Dusk hovering long enough
to gather spent milkweed.
Frank, who will study in Utah
gets it and gathers fistfuls of fluff
quizzes me about seeds
and cooking, while the brothers
dark and light, thick and thin
tug spent stalks from rain-softened ground
filling my bags. The mother
gave herself another chore
and cleaned my yard of errant trash.
After thanks and thanks, I sat
in the graying glow, pulling
seeds from silk, happily finding
glistening, unopened strands
in overwintered silver pods
listening to far highway's shush
and close songbirds celebrating
the coming warmth
early the phone rings
Akua Lezli Hope was struck down on November 14, 2005 at 3:04 a.m. by transverse myelitis, the very year she learned to kayak. She is trying to live with the attendant chronic pain, paralysis and poverty.