Languages Department
Learning Differences Conference 2013

October 15, 2010
Hannah Achorn
2010 IB Retreat


Skeletal fingers and wrists

Encircled with lace,

Skin pale, and sallow,

Head too big, her body still small,

She’s too delicate to survive

In our world.


Burrowing into an embrace

She clings to warmth,

To care, and holds love tight

With her willowy fingers,

As a simple smile transforms ashen skin;

She is beautiful.


Reaching Out

In a room full of bodies,

Emaciated, twisted,

Dark watery eyes find mine

And I can’t help but look away.


The air is still, and stale,

Our breaths are held,

Afraid to disturb the silence.

We are herded to a corner.


This one understands,

The only patient in the stagnant room,

Able to comprehend,

Able to speak.


A nurse shushes and coos.

He is straining against binds,

Trying to sit up,

He is reaching out.


I don’t look away from the bleary stare.

I reach back,

And murky, delirious happiness

Exudes from his smile.


I Know

                The halls are empty, and dimly lit. Wallpaper is scratched and sparse. Metal tables littered with syringes, bottles, and gauze, are leaning against thresholds. Each doorway is labeled, and I can’t read the foreign letters. Who knows what distinguishes one room from the next? Aren’t they all the same? This one can talk, those can’t. This one can understand, but the rest can’t. But I’m wrong. I know this. Because sometimes they reach out, sometimes they shine and strive for contact. And that one smile can change your life, alter your perspective, and spark hope in your heart. It is courage in its purest form – courage and a simple faith in tomorrow. Nothing colors or taints their watery eyes. I know they see clearer than I. So I walk down the dim, dingy corridors and listen to my shoes on the linoleum floor. They mingle eerily with the strangled, lonely wail from several doors behind me. Today I brought smiles to weak faces, held bony hands and felt the worth of my own healthy body. I walk out through the doors, into the sunlight, and I don’t look back. Because I know that I can do more.