Janelle Eckardt


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She nuzzled in and I loved her fully.
Deep in the canoe of my lap, she made her bed.
I found my purpose in the cold of her nose.
My whole world could rest beneath the soft down of her floppy ears.

She stayed where she was set.
Safe in the canoe of my warm lap, she stretched to lick at my chin.
She licked at my hands, and at all the warm skin she could reach from where she stayed where she was set.
Our future would be lapped up like warm milk for us both to share.

She stayed where she was set, though.
Such a good passenger, she never threatened to tip the canoe of my shallow lap.
She only stayed and stretched to lick at all the warmth she could reach, and that was the problem my mother said.
We shared a kind of truth to be nuzzled and calm, but there was the problem I guessed.

He pawed and he squirmed and he climbed.
He scratched and he spilled from the canoe of my shallow lap, and I hated myself for it.
He bit at my nose and I laughed instead of cried, and so we went home together.
We were awkward friends for years, though I could never stretch far enough to reach the warmth of him.


Janelle Eckardt lives in San Diego, California, and has Congenital Muscular Dystrophy. The 2016 presidential election inspired Eckardt to raise her small crippled woman's voice in all the ways she can against misogyny and ableism.Eckardt now performs spoken word poetry and is busy finding homes for all her beloved words. A growing collection of Eckardt's work can be found on her YouTube channel.