When I park my truck
In a handicapped spot at the store,
And hang my handicapped placard in the window,
I purposely walk with an exaggerated limp
That on most days is not natural,
And try to avoid the judging eyes of fellow patrons,
Who cannot see that the worn down insides
Of my prematurely aged knees
Have no cartilage left in them for cushioning.
Who don’t know that they swell up
Cutting off the circulation to my feet,
Numbing my toes
In rhythm with the weather cycles,
Becoming organic barometers,
Aching in anticipation of an oncoming storm.
I become a caricature of myself
Hobbling into the grocery store
Carefully avoiding their gaze.
John W. Leys is a 44 year old disabled US Army veteran, husband and father. He’s been making up stories (and sometimes writing them down) for as long as he can remember and has been writing poetry since he was 14 years old. His favorite poets include Lord Byron, Ted Hughes, Allen Ginsberg, Catullus and Bob Dylan. In his spare time he enjoys fishing, reading philosophy, and playing his ukulele.