so blessed be the YouTube tutorial
on how to turn your empty pill bottles
into a string of fairy lights.

blessed be the chatty four-way FaceTime call
between college kids who just so happen
to be prepping their injections.

blessed be the friends who don’t
question me when I cancel plans.
blessed be the friends who cancel plans.

blessed be those who know not all
spoons are for food or tea or cough syrup.
blessed be the spoons.

blessed be every soul who knew better than
to mistake my small stature for a permission slip,
my small voice for a dismissal bell.

blessed be the librarian
who never tried to convince me
to read more uplifting books.

blessed be the ex-lovers
who kept my specialty formula
stocked in their mini-fridges.

blessed be the grandmother who researched
adult diapers and sent me screenshots, lest
my browser history falls on judgmental eyes.

blessed be my sister, pausing
the tour to ask the wedding
planner about accessibility.

blessed be my mother, printing off another
article while the self-proclaimed soothsayers
hung up their scrubs and forgot about me.

blessed be the room-for-one turned penthouse suite,
the visitors’ passes, three butts to one cot,
wheelchair races, and board games unfolded over bedspreads.

blessed be the drumbeat in my throat, the hands
raising tinker bell solo cups like champagne goblets,
laughter choking out the machines I don’t need to tell me

I’m still living
blessed be everything
that shows me I’m still living.

blessed be the hands that healed me,
not one of them gloved,
not one of them gripping a tool,

every one of them holding another.

CAROLINE WOLFF is a queer and disabled poet and essayist from San Antonio, Texas, USA. Her work has been featured in Skyline and The Trinity Review, and is forthcoming in SICK, The Fruitslice, and The Marbled Sigh. She is a freelance arts & culture journalist at San Antonio Current and a poetry acquisitions editor at West Trade Review. When she isn’t writing, you can find her devouring a novel, doing pilates, or snuggling with her tuxedo cat. To follow Caroline on her writing journey, visit her Instagram page: @carolinemariewrites.

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You can find Caroline’s two poems in Vol.3. Consider subscribing to support Anodyne Magazine and its contributors. We pay our contributors dividends for each purchase! Plus, this is the only place you’ll find an ebook + print subscription combo.

 

Artist Statement: Several months ago I went to my local private clinic to receive an IUD. Due to the testosterone I take, and some unlucky genetics, an IUD is my only sustainable option aside from a hysterectomy. It was for this reason that my boyfriend drove me to the clinic and held my hand as I laid back into the stirrups and braced myself. I could not have foreseen how violently poorly my body would react to such an invasion, vomiting and shaking with every muscle clenched like a fist. The two nurses who cared for me were gentle with me, my boyfriend rubbed my sides to soothe me. In the end I was laid on a soft couch facing a window painted like stained glass. It was among the worst pains I have ever experienced, but what would it have been if I had been in a local hospital? I am grateful that I am able to receive this kind of care without speculation, without prying questions.

TOM INFECTION (he/they) is a transmasc autistic artist in New Hampshire. His work discusses queerness, neurodivergence, and whatever else catches his fancy. With a background in agriculture, sound engineering and fish mongering, Tom is now a college student studying art and design.

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You can find Tom Infection in Vol.3. Consider subscribing to support Anodyne Magazine and its contributors. We pay our contributors dividends for each purchase! Plus, this is the only place you’ll find an ebook + print subscription combo.

I keep the sad in my feet,
in the body part furthest from my heart,
the body part which is always cold–

I’m told I have bad circulation
and a high red blood cell count
that stops the blood from flowing
as quickly as it should,

so I wear grippy hospital socks,
even when I’m not in the hospital,
and wrap my feet in a separate blanket
from the rest of my body,
hoping for some kind of warmth.

I try friction and hot chocolate,
but nothing thaws this sad.

I keep the sad in my feet
because my brain floats above my head
and the weight of the sad
keeps me grounded.

So when the hospital calls my name for review,
I have something to tether me to the sticky,
just waxed floors as I follow the crisis nurse to a private room.

Private here means so that we won’t be overheard,
but also so that the nurse can keep an eye on me.

They don’t keep pens or cords in the private room.
I’m told to remove my shoelaces.
She asks if I am wearing a belt.

She takes my hoodie and reveals the
badly-taped gauze on my arms.
She takes note of my medications,
Takes vitals and has me rate my physical pain
before starting her questionnaire:

She asks me if I’ve been feeling hopeless,
if I’ve been feeling sad,
and she scribbles down every word of my answer
as I tell her I don’t feel sad,
I am holding the sad.

As I change into a new pair of grippy socks
I look for it, but you can’t see the sad,
you can only see feet,
just like you can’t see me there,
floating, just above my head,
using the sad like a weight for
my balloon brain. She tells me I am
disconnected from reality,

that I’m not feeling right,
and that I’ll have to stay the night.
In the morning they’ll review my medications
and try to find something that brings me back.

She doesn’t specify if she means back from balloon
or back from this ledge,
but she tells me she’ll help me.
She doesn’t say it reassuringly,
she says it because she has to.

And as she walks me from the
always open-doored bathroom
to the always open-doored bedroom,
she doesn’t offer me a second blanket.

DAMEIEN NATHANIEL is a queer, trans, autistic poet from the Northeast U.S.. They recently completed their MFA in poetry from Arcadia University, with their work centering around themes of trauma, loss, mental health, and queer identity. Dameien can be found performing at open mics and slams throughout New England and on Instagram @SpasmOfFeelings.

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Dameien Nathaniel is our featured contributor in Vol.3. Consider subscribing to support Anodyne Magazine and its contributors. We pay our contributors dividends for each purchase! Plus, this is the only place you’ll find an ebook + print subscription combo.