Breath & Shadow

A Journal of Disability Culture and Literature

Spring 2014

Volume 11 Issue 2



Breath and Shadow
  Spring 2014
Volume 11, Number 2

Bargain with God
By Allegra Keys

I made a bargain on the corner of Acceptance and Wisdom
When my body was wrapped in the supple arms of youth
But my mind was plagued by the choking grip of truth

My expiration date came with much ado at the age of two
Soon thereafter the thoughts of growing old fled my mind like migrating birds
Sitting on a porch with grandkids was something for everyone but me
I’d get weaker, bones, muscles, joints wasting away

I never asked why my feet would never touch the ground
Every doctor was amazed by the fact that I continued to breathe
But everything comes with a cost stamped on the packaging
Thus my living would require giving

Giving up another day in a future that would have been mine in a different life
Giving up a dream simply because my body wouldn’t do those things
Giving up the majority of the muscles in my youthful physique
Giving up bitterness, simply because...Shit happens
And that’s just the way it is
I “give” when in reality I’m usually being robbed in broad daylight

So I made a bargain on the corner of Acceptance and Wisdom

Acceptance because at a young age I understood biological youth and I
were conjoined twins
And I could have spent my whole life allowing denial to cloak my
knowledge but chose not to
It’s not that I don’t fight
Everyday I lose a small luxury I could do yesterday is a fight
Everyday I watch people my age squander their youth with youthful games
Is a fight within myself to keep playing the games I can still play

Wisdom because although I was young in age, I was aware of one fact
Life in the absence of love is a body in the absence of a soul
Love of family and friends was never a stranger to me
But watching life around me had always been my forte and I yearned for more
It commenced with the Disney princesses and their princes promising forever
Then there were the teenage rom-coms where social stigmas never
mattered at the end
As unrealistic as they might be they gave me a taste, a sweet drop of
what life could be

Now there’s the young couples in the park
Perhaps they don’t believe in forever but they believe in the spark
They have midnight duels using double-edged words then seal the wounds
with tender kisses
Their love is as turbulent as their hormones but that’s what makes it

And then there’s the old couple lying in bed
Maybe they’ve spent 60 years together “for better or worse” or for all
Maybe they’ve only spent 6 months together cherishing the daybreaks
they have left
But tonight they hold each other with mangled limbs and leathery skin
And the world seems a bit less cruel
Their hearts beat, pitter-patter, simpatico

Every movie I saw, every book I read, every time I left the house
That romantic love danced in the wind, right next to people or inside them

So I prayed to You
Not for more time, time is what one threads, the end results depends on them
Not for a better body, I was made this way, so with what I had I’d make-do
I told you I didn’t mind giving up time or giving up movement that
most take for granted
But in return I asked for one thing
“When I get older can I have true love? Not normal love but the special one?”

The one that pulls people toward each other like magnets
That crackling spit of the fire
That electric zing
That burning, all-consuming passion
That lovely ring-a-ding-ding
That one thing that everyone spends their lives inadvertently seeking
I even said I didn’t need forever with him, temporary would be alright
I’d survive if all I were left with were the pieces of my used up heart
At least I’d have the memories to keep me warm at night

Now I’m older but according to the world I’m still “young” and have time
But I know my body and what if I don’t?
At times I feel as though my eyes, body, and heart belong to an 80 year old
I know I don’t have an endless supply of strength to give
The sand in the hour-glass will sooner rather than later be bottom heavy
Love and romance is what we’re wired to long for
Please don’t make me give up this dream
The only dream I thought my weak hands would always be able to reach
out and hold onto
It’s the curse of the hopeless romantic

My shoulders are weighed down but I’ve kept my end
Of the bargain I made on the corner of Acceptance and Wisdom…

Allegra Keys is a born and raised Seattle resident. To survive all the precipitation, she writes poetry and short stories. She dreams of writing the next YA phenomenon one day. When she's not writing, she's reading, watching movies, going to live theater musicals, spending time with loved ones, or traveling. Follow her on Twitter (@AllegraKeys), like her on Facebook (Allegra Keys), subscribe to her blog (allegrakeys.blogspot.com), or check out her self-published ebook, “Knotted Strings,” available on Amazon."

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