At birth, I was stamped with a special mark.
You may call it my name, my affliction—
O, I don’t mind if you call me crippled,
Say I’m lame, I’m crooked, I’m marked like Cain.
In so much else that counts in local games
I’ve been privileged—adults in the church
My parents drove us to three times a week
Liked to pronounce, with grave satisfaction,
That the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh,
And by God’s grace it all comes out the same,
Or nearly the same, or fairly, at least
Equally unbalanced, and look how well
God had made me, incapable, and yet
Blessed by rare, extra capabilities.
See? Yes. To the extent that I am here,
Insofar as I still am, I’m lucky.
Don’t pity me. I was born male and white
Among mortgaged American Christians.
I am a unit in a collection,
Sharp boy who once thieved from church collections,
Collection you may label as you like.
Call it unfortunate; I call it life.
Now everyone wants to be the monster.
It’s cooler to be the monster, of course,
If that beast’s more sinned against than sinning—
Just like you! But with magic, monstrous gifts,
So—like you, but cool! Now I want to be
The monster, too. No, no wait, not that kind.
Not the one who must take the blame, the one
Who is justly accused. Not one of them.
Look, some of us have always been the freaks,
And the fact about freaks is that we have
Less strength, not more. We’re frail, not magical,
Even as giants, and we’re mostly small.
Can’t you let us keep Grendel, Caliban,
Leviathan, and Baal to comfort us?