‘My wheelchair is a part of me’

Anthony LaFond, an artist in Matheny’s Arts Access Program, is celebrating the publication of one of his poems, “God’s Gift to Me” in the winter 2012 issue of Breath & Shadow, a journal of disability culture and literature. The 30-year-old LaFond, who has muscular dystrophy, has been writing since he was 17 years old. While he enjoys writing stories, his real passion is poetry.

God’s Gift to Me

My wheelchair is a part of me.
When he moves, it is like a tank under my control.

My wheelchair has a chair like a portable bed.
His wheels are round like a balloon.
And his motor moves me as fast as a 10-speed bike.

He is shaped like a throne that is sitting on top of the world.

He rides like he is flying me through the air.
The wind blows by like I’m going downhill on a rollercoaster.

Sometimes when I go fast, my eyes start to cry.
I feel what he feels.

He goes where I go, just like a shadow.
He tells me when he is hungry and tired.

Sometimes he reminds me, he has a mind of his own.
He shows me when he needs a change of feet.
His one eye glows at night when I need light.

He carries my bags all day long and never lets go.
He is my defense weapon against anyone who wants to hurt me.

His timing is one of a kind.
When I let go of his messenger, he stops on a dime.
When I need him to zig and zag, he does it with such skill.

He reminds me of who I am, and I am very thankful for that.
He reminds me of what I have and not what I don’t have.

He is God’s gift to me, and when he dies,
I will have to get another.

But each gift God gives me does not make me feel the same way.
They each have their own talent.

My chair’s name is Junior, after my first chair,
And I his father.

He is me
And I him,
And I shall never forget that.

LaFond, above, read “God’s Gift to Me” at Full Circle 2011 Dimensions, the annual celebration of the Arts Access Program. Arts Access enables people with disabilities to create fine art, assisted by professional artist-facilitators. Breath & Shadow is the only online literary journal with a focus on disability. It is written and edited entirely by people with disabilities.