Kylie Bean


Listen to the audio version.

They say I am malformed, unkneaded, raw.
And I am—unkneaded, unneeded, malformed and perfected.
Days ago, my application was stamped "rejected".
Years ago, pills were shoved down my resisting maw.
Decades ago, I was murdered under law.
Centuries ago, I was hep-B infected.
Millenia ago, I was left, neglected.
Always, I am pummeled with pity or fist or claw.

They wish me to be and make me silent,
yet here I am, still alive, not still, quiet, but loud.
I scream, I fight, so that I might be heard,
and defy all the piteous ableistic violent.
Out in the world, I stand: tall, crippled, proud,
but one foot drags behind like these unneeded words.

* * *


Listen to the audio version.

i never learned the tricks of language
like so many do
instantaneous and organic
like the alphabet soup i used to eat
in the hospital or else i lost it somewhere
in the hole in my brain four centimeters in diameter

i hoarded those facts and those words
tumor centimeter pilocytic astrocytoma
like i hoarded alphabet soup when i first went on steroids
after i refused to eat after the millionth time i threw up from chemo
the millionth time i threw up a mixture of vomit and blood and senseless words.

i threw my heart and soul and all my mind
into language flowing and flowery and even now i scream cliche
at the thought of heart and soul but i can find no better shorthand and
i need shorthand that is cliche and reference because even now
like spelling words with alphabet soup
i am always too slow
i always get burned


Kylie Bean is a graduating senior at the University of Mary Washington, pursuing a BA in English: Creative Writing. She currently works as a writing tutor and as managing editor for the 6.2 issue of The Rappahannock Review. Kylie has also worked as a freelance editor for more than five years. Her work mainly focuses on the intersection and interaction of her identities, being both disabled and queer. This is her first professional publication.