In honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, Atlantis is highlighting artists who identify as having visible or invisible disabilities. Introducing Brittani Wray, a poet at UNC Wilmington.
I ask you again what words your lips formed, what noise your throat made— how did those sounds all come together to form coherency? All I know is blurred static, like when my head knocks against a brick wall, and for a moment, all I can cling to is that narrowing vision, the concrete under my feet disappearing beneath me. I ask you again to repeat. What went wrong from your brain to your throat to your lips to my ears to my brain? I know it’s me. And you sigh, annoyed, and I know I’ve failed. I had hoped I wouldn’t. You repeat it a little louder. I try to cling to the cliff of your words, but my fingers are slipping, and I’m falling, falling, falling, the failure of my genetics digging holes in my heart, burrowing in my arms, ripping me to pieces. Why am I this way, and you are not? I ask you once more though my throat closes around my words, a fire burning through my cheeks. Your face tightens, and I see the regret in your eyes before you shutter it away and shut the blinds in my face. You shake your head, and you say, never mind. I heard that loud and clear. I still don’t know what you wanted to tell me.
Brittani Wray is a junior at UNC Wilmington, pursuing a B.F.A. in Creative Writing. With her poetry, she hopes to inspire people and help them feel understood, and with her fiction, she hopes to give people an escape from the outside world. In her free time, she enjoys working on fiction and poetry projects, reading, playing with her dogs, and hanging out with friends.