Andrew Sydlik


behind the wheel!
suddenly I'm there
weaving among traffic
switching lanes to turn
exit signs passing by
      unread green
      fields in the sky

will I brake quick enough?
I see the car in front of me
but not how close–
      bad judge of distance–
images of impact      flash
crash averted–just another
watch it, asshole!

finally in the driver's
seat but in that loony logic
of dreams some fool's given
me license to veer in and
out of these speeding lives



Why do you make me feel ashamed?
Do you have to be so obvious,
rigid and stark white
that people know at once to move aside
in fear or in consideration?

Do you blame me for leaving you at home
leaning near the door
despite my falls and bruises,
near misses with cars?
When I return, I return to my blindness:
you stand there chiding me
for preferring danger to you,
reminding me that I could be lost to oblivion
for the sake of normalcy.
With you, I can't hide.

I admit my hypocrisy: I want
the safety of your weight in my hand,
the sound of your tap-tapping ahead.
You find all the ridges and holes in this broken earth.
I want you to whisper to strangers
and teach me the discipline of walking.

But I fear how you change me:
are you a missing piece
or an added prosthesis
making me look other than human?
If I walk into a room with you,
those who see me know immediately what I am.
Your solid white spectacle
differs from my voice
lilting out vague phrases
such as "legally blind" or "visually impaired."
You tell me to let the blindphobics
cling to their flimsy visions.
But I am neither brave nor free from vanity:
will you forgive me if I fold you up,
tuck you away,
free from sight?


Andrew Sydlik aspires to write better fiction, poetry, and criticism. He has only recently begun to explore his legal blindness and disability issues in his writing. His work has appeared in The Holiday Café, Taproot Literary Review, The Shine Journal, Bewildering Stories, and the anthology Come Together, Imagine Peace, published by Bottom Dog Press. He lives in Columbus, Ohio, where he studies American literature and Disability Studies in the Ohio State University's English PhD program.