Consider this: one in every 200 Americans has type 1 diabetes (T1D). That’s about 1.6 million people. And until about three week ago, I only knew one of them (a cousin who I see during the holidays). That’s equivalent to the population of San Antonio or Philadelphia.
Can you imagine living in Philadelphia and only knowing your dentist? That’s what this is like.
But the other day I remembered November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, which led to me thinking there are probably a lot of people in my life who don’t know that much about diabetes. …
I’m asking to shake hands with the sloping horizon and bursting birds born into the evening, fleeing an echo, all blurred edges and follow the leader. I want to catch them like confetti onto my palms, warming in the glow of the sun and just as light with their hollow bones. I want to capture their flight path on the rim of the earth, where every last good thing seems to dangle at arm’s length. I want peace to spread over me while serenity courses through my veins. I want to know what that even means. I want to know…
The ceaseless pitch many octaves higher than a piano’s far-right key, shrieking at any hour of the quietest night.
The sweat, the frailty, the quivering of my carpals, the mold floating in a bedside juice bottle, the sugar tablets on the nightstand, in the pantry, in your purse, in my coat, in each glovebox, in your father’s kitchen, in our niece’s mind.
The mint ice cream at Chautauqua Park. My seizure in the mountains. The grief you couldn’t hide. The plates we hung on the wall. The sensors under my skin. The bill we pay down for the ambulance.
We always take turns of phrase
too sharply – so much more gas
than brake. My hand at 10,
yours at 2, we don’t follow
any of the new rules
– but dammit,
we abide by the signage.
We want those behind us to follow,
tail lights guiding like instincts
– double-letter highways all curves
carved by your hand in mine.
I think this is it – can we pull over?
Be honest: do you trust me? Will you lie
on your back in the street beside me?
Truman Kelsey is a poet living in St. Louis with his wife and cat. He can be found on Medium and on Instagram at @trumankelseypoet.