Invisible

My poem, Invisible, was published on Lady literary magazine in September 2017. It’s about living with fibromyalgia:

When you look at me, you see a smile.
You hear my laughter.
You compliment my hair and my makeup.
You celebrate my joie de vivre.
You think I’m the life of the party.

You’re glad when I show up to an event.
You say I’m the picture of health.
You ask me, “Isn’t this so much nicer
than staying at home?”
You introduce me to all of your friends
as the happy clown.

You congratulate me on leaving my
cane at the door.
You tell me I don’t need it as much
as I think I do.
You are confident I’ll be okay with
a little more exercise,
and getting out with people.

Your friends explain to me about
diet and yoga, and an article
they just read.
You all agree I’m way too young
to need a disabled parking pass.
One of your friends says I’m too
upbeat to let things overcome me.
Attitude, you agree, is the ticket.

And the entire time my joints
and muscles are searing.
My nerves screech with fury.
I’m having trouble keeping track of
the conversation,
and find it hard to remember
what I said 30 seconds ago.

I rested for three days to come
out for three hours.
I wanted to be with you.
It hurt to style my hair, but I wanted
to look beautiful.
I wanted to get out and laugh.
I wanted to have fun.
I didn’t want to be alone another day.

But you can’t see my struggle.
You see a pretty face.
You hear me tell jokes.
You listen to me giggle.
You watch me walk but cannot
sense my pain.
You think I will eventually get better.

You simply cannot believe in what’s
invisible.

And I’ve given up trying to
convince you.

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