I am here, the mermaid whose dark hair
streams black, the merman in his armored body
We circle silently about the wreck
we dive into the hold. …
We are, I am, you are
by cowardice or courage
the one who find our way
back to the scene
carrying a knife, a camera
a book of myths
our names do not appear. – Adrienne Rich
The poet Adrienne Rich passed away yesterday, and in her obituary this poem was quoted. I first read it, I think, in one of my college writing seminars and returned to it again often.
I think so much about life with a disability or medical condition, is akin to diving into the wreck of trying to find one’s place in a society that does not immediately have a place for you. Sometimes I don’t want to explore that wreck. I take another path, ignoring the glaring scene before me. Other times I explore it, finding my way through and making my mark on it. I think many people I know are the same way.
We search for ways to symbolically make our names appear in this world, to make a mark and be counted. To a certain extent everyone does this, but differences can make this path more perilous at times…