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.

About Mike Bonikowsky

Mike Bonikowsky lives and works in Dufferin County, Ontario. He is a direct support professional with the local Association for Community Living and spends the rest of his time raising two young children. He has been living and working with men and women with developmental disabilities since 2007. His book Red Stuff is available at https://www.solumpress.com/publications

2 Thoughts on “Sign of Contradiction

  1. Rev. Melissa Hendricks Wike on February 1, 2023 at 12:22 pm said:

    The poem Mike wrote was beautiful and touched my heart. I would be honored if he would allow me to use his poem, giving him full credit of course. I am a minister and always looking for beautiful and positive things that come ffrom the disabled community. I have also been a Direct Support Professional, because the need is great, howeverI know I cannot do it forever. My calling is taking me elsewhere.

  2. Mike Bonikowsky on February 1, 2023 at 7:10 pm said:

    Hi Melissa, Mike here! Please feel free to use this poem wherever it can be used, and thank you for the kind words.

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