Aimee Godfrey, I’m sorry but

The ambulance to Beaumont

In the ambulance,
the blue lights are a filter
that it would be a shame
for my Instagram to miss.
So I take a hundred selfies.
Or I think I do.

As we traverse the
never-ending roadworks,
I leave more of my sanity
in each of the tooth rattling potholes.

The shadows in this hospital on wheels
place me in an indoor swimming pool at midnight,
or make me the Virgin Mary in her cerulean shawl.
Perhaps I should go back and tell the doctor with the needles.

As we approach our destination,
morning streaks the sky with stray fire.
I can’t help but think
that there are better ways to see the sunrise.

Saying Sorry to Strangers

I seem to find something new to
apologize to strangers for every day.
I’m sorry, I was in the way.
I’m sorry, don’t mind me.
I’m sorry, I’m a nightmare.

I’m sorry.
I’m sorry.
I’m sorry.

If I ever learn a conjunction, it’ll be:
I’m sorry but.

I’m sorry but
your desire to get a couple of steps ahead of me in Eason’s
does not supersede my desire not to
fall down the stairs.

I’m sorry but
if you knock me off balance
because you can’t wait half a second,
I will loudly and dramatically slap off the ground
and make sure that everybody is watching.

I’m sorry but
I might cry for added effect.

I’m sorry but
shoving me into the road in rush hour traffic
for the sake of your unnecessarily massive pram
is actually much less grand than I said it was.

I’m sorry but
I do, in fact, need this seat.
So no,
I’m not going to stand up to make you feel better.

I’m sorry but
you are not entitled to a
detailed rundown of my medical history
before I’m allowed to use
the only disabled bathroom in the place.

I’m sorry but
I will piss on your shoes
if you refuse to move,
and I’m sorry but
I hope your tutting chokes you.

I’m sorry but
your qualification in medicinal positivity
is not going to plug the literal holes in my brain.
Neither will kale. Or a ketogenic diet. Or going vegan.

I’m sorry but
even your actual medical degree
cannot possibly tell me
how bits of plastic in my head
are supposed to feel.

I’m sorry but
having a friend or acquaintance or family member
with ‘something like what I have’
does not make you an expert on my situation.

I’m sorry but
if I say there isn’t a cure,
you can’t disagree with me.

I’m sorry but
if I say I don’t wish for a cure,
you can’t decide that I should.

I’m sorry but
I’m not the token spastic
or cripple or handicap
you can pull out when you need justification.

I’m sorry but
I can say those words.
You can’t.

I’m sorry but
I’m not the feel-good news story that
appears on your auntie Mary’s Facebook page
every so often.

I’m sorry but
I won’t be your inspiration porn,
or minus the inspiration
for a fee.

I’m sorry but
You can’t be a retard, you’re so sexy haha x
is not the compliment you think it is.

I’m sorry but
you don’t get brownie points
for treating me like a human being,
even if you feel like you’ve earned them.

I’m sorry but
I don’t owe you a thing.

Aimee Godfrey is a disabled undergraduate student at NUI Galway, but lives in Limerick. Her poetry focuses primarily on themes surrounding disability and its impact on other subjects.

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