I'm Fighting Just to Say Hello
by John Kinnaird
I live on an island, and so do you.
And from that island we can talk, or yell or cry or laugh.
The Constitution says we can.
While we're alive we have freedom of speech.
That sounds great -- but I can't speak! Can't make the words come out.
Yesterday I was left in my room, forgotten in my island chair.
If I try to jump out of my chair, as you walk past
with your eyes on the ceiling, it makes you mad.
And I am surprised; how else do I get you to hear.
My freedom of speech is a gift from you!
Sometimes I give up trying, and stay on my island dumb and silent.
But every time a boat goes past the buoy marking the channel here,
I try again to jump out of my chair and get your attention,
so someone will come ashore and talk to me.
To use my board to help me to speak.
I feel like I have to beg and say please,
To kiss your feet for a little time, and then be grateful.
To walk a tightrope with the words I say, so you won't get mad.
I am not like that at all.
I want to speak my mind without fear.
Without the tiger that hides in the trees, ready to pounce
on the careless word or the joke or sarcastic remark I make.
Go ahead and get mad. I love a good fight!
But then please come back to my island chair, I'm waiting here.
My freedom of speech depends on you.
John Kinnaird lives in a nursing home in Pennsylvania.