Living with Invisible Illness: Unseen Pain- John W. Leys

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.

Blog “Darkness of his Dreams

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