Poem: Tuff Gurl

By: Kimberly Potter Kendrick

toughGirl

Eight months plus six more, fourteen months of forever
Once again, will her legs do their job
Imagining herself standing, visualizing the first steps…slowly, one foot after the other
No fairy dust or magic wand
Only time can heal her body and mind
Tuff Gurl

Outside her eyes scan searching for an answer
Inside broken hearted
Will the infection eradicate
Constantly questioning, independently researching
Her doctor, she trusts
Others, not really
Frustration with the unknown
Fear wadded up as anger
Her cries persist in darkness
Tuff Gurl

Memories from before… before she was sick…before when both legs worked…before when sitting, standing, and lying down were choices
Too depressed at times to actually recall
Laughter and touch scarcities
Above her bed, hangs a humongous valentine from a little boy who stole her heart
Clinging to magical hugs from two little boys
Tuff Gurl

Down the sidewalk she limps, choosing crutches over two canes
Observing the children’s stares, listening to the mumbling
Sweat drips, shifts the tie-dyed bandana
A single tear sneaks from her eye
Tuff gurl

Girly stuff not for her
No makeup, jewelry, nail polish on her fingers
Her hair shorter than most boys
Bold, screaming purple this month, teal the one before
Whispering I am me, I am enough
Essential mantras echoed daily
Tuff Gurl

Long, jagged incisions down her hips and thighs
Scalpel or chainsaw she joked with surgeon
Forgetting appointments, her mind is full
Monday ‘tis today
Waited for Monday evening to arrive
Excitement, anticipation subtle
Tuff Gurl

Money stretched thin
Wants versus needs
Alienated from the world
Her head drops
To live she must have life
Simple wants become necessities
Tuff Gurl

Candy apple red, one set of wheels
Wide-eyed same children glare
She’s grateful it’s hers
Blasting music, sunroof open
Starlit evening, moon glows brightly
Each decision made precisely
Why? Because she can, in the limited world of so many cannots
Tuff Gurl

Different wheels vital
Various adventures
Sleek black frame painted with pink glitter, it hers, no denial
Some conceive helplessness, she experiences freedom
Held back only by fear, filled with dignity
No one’s pity does she choose
Time and distance pulled her away from contentment
Her life changed, never to be the same
She transformed also,
She persevered
Six months to go
How will she proceed
Alone, with support, by the day, by the moment, tears and laughter, writing, painting, kind words, smiles, challenges, sheer determination in the face of give up
Tuff Gurl

 

 

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