Recovery is a myth, the way

the old mapmakers used to say

you would sail over the edge

of the world, fall into the black

beyond, discover a new body

of land, privilege stealing the past

of others, pretending it history, 

but here the only threshold

is the slick blade of diagnosis, 

a fountain pen spurting, blood

test results that chart the course

for a realm of pain.

A sea monster lurks, unfurling 

like the nerves of a body

in revolt, not easily folded

the way cartographers believed

their will could write reality—

legend the key to lead

the way home, signaling

sailors away from danger

except there is no cure

for what has always been

broken, nerves a damaged course,

another hurricane on the horizon,

another drowned sailor, a fool

at the lookout searching

for threats when the ship

was already sinking from inside.

Sarah Fawn Montgomery, a pixie-haired woman wearing round glasses, a cream-colored cable knit sweater, and a delicate gold necklace stands smiling in a bright forest.

Sarah Fawn Montgomery is the author of Halfway from Home (Split/Lip Press, 2022), Quite Mad: An American Pharma Memoir (The Ohio State University Press, 2018) and three poetry chapbooks. Nerve, a craft book on unlearning the ableist workshop and developing a disabled writing practice, is forthcoming with Sundress Publications, and Abbreviate, a short collection of flash nonfiction, is forthcoming with Harbor Editions. She is an Associate Professor at Bridgewater State University.