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Ferris, Jim / Facts of life

Dear God,   p. 18

Page 18

Dear God 
My mom says she noticed something wrong 
with my leg right after I was born- 
she still holds a grudge against that doctor who 
said she was imagining it. First operation 
at one; the one tomorrow is what, number ten? 
I used to think you had something in mind 
for me. I think I've been kidding myself. 
How much difference can it make to any 
body how I walk? Cast, no cast. Limp, no limp. 
Brace, no brace. It just matters to me. 
A universe of one. Where does this come from? 
Did I screw up somehow? I must have 
done something, because a real God would not do 
this for no reason. Not the one I was taught. 
Just put an X on my forehead, proclaim my shame 
from a billboard, put a Kick Me sign 
on my back. I can put up with the looks, 
the remarks, the smaller and larger 
humiliations, wanting what is always out 
of my reach. I can swallow it all- 
how heavy my brace is, the way people look 
at me and then look away, the way they talk 
like I can't hear can't see can't think, 
not being able to ride a bike when all 
my friends ride bikes, always being slow 
and fat and ugly, magnet for faith healers 
and those who tell me God Has a Plan. Do 
you? It would be nice to know. Because 
tomorrow, more yet to swallow. I can handle 
the pain, I can handle the shame, 
I've been practicing all my life. What I can't 
handle is the fire that flames my gut- 
anything might touch me off. All I've swallowed 
has poisoned me. Don't you know this? Do something 
for me-fix me. No. Fix the world. We've all 

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