You Wanted Me to Fly

You wanted me to fly.

Has it always been your fantasy?
That my ungainly limbs
would slip the noose of gravity
and find some supple grace amidst the stars?

That you could tuck my brain inside a jar,
enfold my mind within the perfect plastics of a spaceship,
shear away unruly flesh from interstellar dreams?

For years,
I drank it down without protesting.

But now I am the ghost in your machine,
the traitor to transcendence.
I spit in your regeneration tanks.
I scorn your regrown limbs and buffed out scars.

Now when I dream of flight,
I dream the interstice of skin and shoulder,
lift spindly legs with arms that know the measure of this body’s weight.

I limp my way across the decks of clean-lined cruisers,
sullying the sleek edges of your future,
my foot dragging like a beacon, like
a flag.


Julia Watts Belser

Julia Watts Belser is a writer, activist, and academic whose fiction, essays, and poetry have appeared in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine, Tikkun, and Fireweed: A Feminist Quarterly. A professor of Jewish Studies at Georgetown University, she studies gender, sexuality, and disability in classical Jewish texts and writes queer feminist disability theology and ethics. She’s a passionate disability activist, a friend of wild places, and a lover of wheels.

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