Imagine a box, body-sized and you’re inside.
You can stand. Cramped. Just.
That’s where I lived
and had to lug the thing around with me
everywhere I went.

Imagine having a voice
torn out as the words exit.
Ideas choke,
when there’s too much build up.

Forget the clothes you long to wear,
they’re still in the shop; the pile grows.
Thief hands are carving a shape for you,
material laid out; colours chosen. You’ll hang
them up as dead weights. Wear them, cold.

Walk on the side of the road they tell you to,
only climb heights moulded by them.
End points will be planned in advance;
no discussion.
Don’t try to leave the course. They’ll find you.

The box still stands, but saggy and torn,
kept in the shed, a constant reminder,
a message to myself.

I stepped in yesterday. I almost burnt.
I left it today. A box on fire.



Julie Stevens writes poems that cover many themes, but often engages with the problems of disability. She has two published pamphlets: Quicksand (Dreich 2020) and Balancing Act (Hedgehog Poetry Press, 2021). www.jumpingjulespoetry.comTwitter: @julesjumping