John Lee Clark


Let go of my arm. This is the arm
of an Elite Frequent Flyer. I will not wait
until I'm the last person on the plane.
Go away. I never asked for assistance.
What? I don't want that wheelchair.
I'm fine. Let me walk.
Let me feel the spring
of my fiberglass cane off the walls
between my mind's charted waters.
What? I don't want the elevator.
Leave me alone. I don't know what color
my bag is and I don't care.
No, it won't take me forever to find it.
Go away. I'm fine kneeling here
near the luggage conveyor. No. No.
Yes. See? See? I told you
it wouldn't take forever.
Now will you please go away?
What? I don't want your help.
Let me feel the air sucked away
just before the shuttle pushes it back.
Go away. Let go of my arm.
I'm not going to be your pole.
No need, no need. I can step off
by myself. Let me go. Let me go home.
Go away. Let me walk
with my bag rolling behind me in the sun.
Let me veer off a bit here and step
onto the grass. No, I'm not lost.
Go away. Let me find out that it's spring
in my own way.

John Lee Clark is a second-generation deaf-blind writer from St. Paul, Minnesota. His writings have appeared in many publications, among them The Chronicle of Higher Education, McSweeney's, and Poetry. His chapbook of poems, from which the above poem was taken, is Suddenly Slow (Handtype Press, 2008) and he edited the definitive anthology Deaf American Poetry (Gallaudet University Press, 2009).