Editor’s note: As we welcome the new year, we are pleased to share this poem by Mike Bonikowsky.

Mike is often asked to speak on behalf of the disability community; a community he spends much time with, but does not belong to as an able-bodied person. He recognizes the tension in this and seeks input and guidance from people with lived experience. This poem, for example, went through multiple iterations based on feedback he solicited from friends and colleagues before arriving at the version you’ll find below.

Working with Mike is a beautiful example of advocates and allies coming together to dismantle ableism and nurture communities where everybody belongs.

This poem captures the belief that we are all stronger together.


Whoever has ears, let them hear
Whoever has eyes, let them read
The signs the Lord has written out
All over his creation.
This is his word inscribed for us
In all the shapes that bodies make
Spoken in a thousand tongues
That only love can translate.
This is the sign of contradiction.
Hung like Christ, like constellations
That spell the secret heart of God
In the only alphabet that can.
Look, you eyes, that you may see
Listen, ears, that you may hear.
Open your hearts, minds, arms, and gates
For this is the Kingdom you prayed would come.
image description: A person is silhouetted in front of a vast night sky filled with constellations of stars.
Photo by Klemen Vrankar on Unsplash