Saturday, 4 September 2021

In my Nearly Nine Years Applying for Disability Recognition

by Kelsey Bryan-Zwick

The notices come at random.  Just another slip of paper
Determining my fate, or what my fate is worth
To all the lever pullers out there, all those gear grinders
Chewing their bitter lives, pointing their long fingers at me
Trying to pull through it all on less than 10,000 a year
In LA where all my doctors live. Their offices all top floor offices
Where I wait with my thumbs twirling, taking in the views
With the tears at the back of my eyes ready to spill
At the news. 

What pain, another day, and yet my bones are kinder
Than those that continue to deny me my meager portion
Just a sliver or slice I ask, and only from the richest pie on the planet
Grubby hands that are made to beg on top of caring for myself: more wound
Than body. After looking at all my naked diagnosis, every slice                            
And stitch, all they do is send me another survey
To ask, but how do you really feel?

* * * * *

Kelsey Bryan-Zwick (she/they) is a queer, disabled, bilingual, poet and a columnist for Los Angeles Poet Society. Disabled with scoliosis at a young age, their poems often focus on trauma, shedding light on this isolating experience. They are a Lead Collaborating Fellow of The Poetry Lab and founded the micro-press BindYourOwnBooks. Pushcart Prize and The Best of the Net nominated, Kelsey’s forthcoming microchapbook, Bone Water (Blanket Sea Press, September 2021) and their first full-length poetry collection, Here Go the Knives (Moon Tide Press, January 2022), focus on their decades surviving with scoliosis. On the gram @theexquisitepoet and online at

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