Marissa Garrow — National Disability Employment Awareness Month


In honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, Atlantis is highlighting artists with visible or invisible disabilities. Welcome, Marissa Garrow, a poet at UNC Wilmington.




Sonnet about chronic pain I can still feel the strain, like something waiting to snap, my spine like a chipped tooth broken down to nerve but not ready for a root canal, and it felt something like that when they stuck the needle in and stole the marrow, syringe fulled like a fat tick, like the pulsating of pain, but who am I to be trapped in my own body yet still able to move freely, to know how pain beats and beats and beats until you excrete bone like candy and the cavity stays behind. I am that, trapped in my own body, in the way I can only ever love as much as I’ve been loved and equal to the amounts of pain that I’ve felt, and I have felt pain like you could not imagine, I hope you will never have to imagine, or experience, what it feels like to not trust your feet before you’ve ever begun to live your life, and sometimes I wake up and have to remind myself to breathe because my chest longs to collapse in on itself, to keep my lungs from inflating the same way my mind seeks to imprison me, shackled to the nebulizer, tied to the sheets of the trauma. But that’s not what this is about, pain is a carpenter and I have been carved down to pencil tips, to stabbing splinters, pain is a potter and I have been mashed again and again because my walls were too thick, too thin, too much inside, not enough, unpleasing, cut wrong, And I want to say that the connection here is that pain is art, that there is something beautiful to be had, a hidden divine parable, But oftentimes, pain is just pain, and something to be lived with and pushed through day until day again. On the rare occasion some lesson is learned, let it be known that I do not condone its teaching, That it is more than acceptable to pack the clay, fill the holes, anything to get through.

Marissa Garrow is attending UNCW for her double major in Biology and Creative Writing. She will be continuing on to veterinary school in Fall of 2023 but hopes to continue to work on her writing and one day being published. Her favorite hobbies include painting, reading, and hanging out with her cat, Tempesta.