When they asked me for my weight
As I entered the scan
I hesitated.
I didn’t want to number me.
I could’ve been dying.
I gave them my number.
They took it.
My stomach twisted.
They told me that I was ok.
They didn’t know why my heart raced
Why my chest tightened.
I was going to be okay.
Go home.
The email came two days later.
Passive. Automatic.
“You’ve got a result.”
I look. I always look.
Examination technically suboptimal
due to the patient’s body habitus.
Within the stated limitation
the mediastinal, hilar and axillary structures
are unremarkable.
There is no definitive evidence
for pulmonary embolism…”
For a moment
For the space between my (too fast) heartbeats.
I lost faith.
For is it not the technology
That has failed my body?
Was it not for bodies
That this technology was formed?
Is it not the medicine
That has failed my body?
Was it not for bodies
That this medicine was made?
Is it that my body,
At my number
Was deemed unworthy?
A body’s worth cannot be measured.
There can be no number
For my body is infinite.
Even as it dies it becomes.
My body is not obsolete.
Mara Passio

10 Minutes

I am disappearing into my chest cavity.
I say it feels safe there, but really it just feels lonely.
Lonely is what I think I deserve.
My body is a disaster zone, alarms ringing
Was it five? -No it was six ER visits this year.
I’ve only had surgery once.
This year.
My bracelet reads
It deadnames me and gives my mother’s cellphone.
I’m too sick to be queer.
At the apex of mind, body, spirit,
My life has narrowed.
Food, sleep, meds.
Queer doesn’t matter if I can’t make myself eat.
For 10 minutes I lay in bed listening to my alarm
Begging my body to move
I would’ve seemed peaceful
Deep asleep
This body that refused to represent who I am, even in waking.
It’s more than disconnect. It’s distrust.
I amĀ disappearingĀ into my chest cavity.
I say it feels safe there, but I really hate it there.
It’s force of habit that leads me down this road.
My body is a war zone,
between what is and what I want it to be.
My rage has not fully quelled, but softened.
I might yet emerge to find myself fully alive.
Queer, even. Queer and Sick.
Mara Passio


Congratulations, your partner is autistic!

I knew you could do it, he says.

It seems silly in retrospect how utterly terrified I was.
Except it wasn’t.

The words I feared,
“We do not believe you fit the criteria for autism spectrum disorder,”
Resounded around my ears as I slept.
Potential invalidation, so present
Doubt entered my mind.
I ceased to find comfort in the term.

I am autistic.
I have a lovely piece of paper now saying it’s so.

You know what I want to do now?
I want to rock back and forth and shake my hands and shout
I was already autistic.
I was autistic this whole fucking time.

My head is buzzing as I write these words and the tune is coming to a crescendo
as I think of all the times as a child I stared in the mirror and practiced my smile
and desperately, desperately tried to suppress my flapping arms when I felt unsuppressed joy.

I am not autistic because a piece of paper pronounced me so.
I am not autistic because a doctor determined I fit the guidelines.
I am autistic because I like to touch my own arm hair, because it makes my skin happy,
and because I cover my ears at loud noises and when a pretty noise comes my way I start singing.
I am autistic because the ringing in my ears can only be counteracted by a low hum in my chest.
I am autistic because I like to touch my lovers’ faces, caressing their eyelids and poking foreheads.
I am autistic because I am viscerally human in my own way, in a way that feels and looks other.
And I am other. And I exist in brilliant light.

Mara Passio