Parlour Magic

Hello again. More poetry to share. This poem was included in Vision, the Poetry in Motion Community Anthology for 2019/2020 which is put together by the Community Arts Partnership. It includes poems submitted for the Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing including the winning poems. I was so honored to have a poem longlisted and another poem included in the anthology. I’ve recorded a reading of Parlour Magic.

This poem was written as I was adjusting to my life as a wheelchair user and figuring out how that impacted my life and relationships. I still struggle with feeling visible in the able-bodied world. I’ve had people bump into me. I’ve gotten stuck in shops with tightly packed racks. I’ve gotten stuck on cracked sidewalks. I’ve been handed trays and coffee when it was obvious that I need both hands to push my chair. Even during graduation for my master’s degree, I got stuck on stage because the building was not accessible. Probably the hardest thing to learn (and something I’m still working on) is finding ways to communicate my limitations to friends who invite me along to places that I know aren’t accessible.

I am fairly hopeful that new rules around social distancing in restaurants and pubs will allow me to go to those places safely. A bar packed to the roof with standing people is basically just asking to have a drink spilled onto me. My hope is that as we start to create a new normal, we can work to make spaces accessible to everyone. Enjoy the poem!