My poverty enclosed me like an iron lung, but
so young then, I didn’t understand the disease.
At school my head stuck out of the classroom
window; I was more outside of myself, than in.
The machine was breathing for me, so they said.
How clever that they taught this automaton how
to feel for me too; the wash of miracle electricity
that fed the contraption & forced air out my lungs
like a leather bellows gasping in an elvish smithy.
My nan had polio as a child; it left her legs twisted
as liquorice. In old age it bent her back, more bullish
than gravity. When I mentioned this to my class the
other day, they looked at me, blank. Their health &
wealth taken for granted; like how the living spend.