"Scoliosis Corset" - Altered photo art - Smith, R.A. (2018)
you prattle at me about my curves.
ignorant of what’s beneath.
this dress. this flesh. this skull.
you judge the earth by its terrain.
worship the idol of your groin.
spinal cord tethered to bone.
vertebrae curved into a soft s shape.
a rigid-plastic-braced erection.
your eyes at the crest.
thoughts in the gorge.
i am not a conquest designed for you.
futile grasping at twisted femurs.
knees held together by a carbon cage.
i spurn your on-demand subscription.
you ascend the mountains
eschewing the soil.
adhere to the ocean brim
in fear of a salty womb.
scars. on my body. in my brain.
lifelong homework never complete.
scratch out and rewrite.
touch truth to paper.
infuse my words with kevlar.
tits & ass the landscape of your bias
"Robot Legs" - Altered photo art - Smith, R.A. (2018)
As someone who grew up being abused, degraded, and intimidated because of my body, my wish as a child was for a way to escape. I’m not sure if it’s because of my age at the time or my general love of superheroes, but I spent my time fantasizing about the power of invisibility.
I wouldn’t discover until I was 40-years-old that I had unknowingly acquired that superpower, in the form of Dissociative Identity Disorder. It took years of excruciating therapy to piece together my past by reliving my traumas. My distinct personalities were acknowledged and relieved of their burdens, allowing them to integrate. I grieved them as they vanished permanently.
While my mind came together, my body fell apart. Becoming physically disabled initiated a whole new type of mourning and adaptation. It came with another set of challenges and preconceptions in the eyes of others. Now I strive for visibility.
“Eraser Marks” is about wiping out what others have dictated about my life and identities in order to rewrite it for myself. As with erasing physical writing, this internal work still leaves marks, like scars in worn paper. While it’s important to remember where I was once deadlocked and hidden, it’s vital that I now narrate my own story and take control of my vulnerabilities, turning them into strengths.
Robin Anna Smith is a non-binary, disabled writer and visual artist, currently residing in Wilmington, Delaware. She began writing when she became bed-bound and acquired aphasia due to illness. Through writing, she has had significant recovery in her communication skills. Her work appears in a variety of international online and print journals, and in Unsealing Our Secrets: A Short Poem Anthology About Sexual Abuse. More of her work can be found at her website robinannasmith.com and Twitter @robinannasmith.