SELF-PORTRAIT AS DUDLEY DO-RIGHT (1999) by Anissa Lynne Johnson
This is a poem, so when I tell you
to envision Dudley Do-Right, what I mean is
there I am. Can you see me? Smiling dopily,
riding backwards on my trusty steed Horse?
Okay, good. Now remember, this is a poem, so
Horse is not a horse—he’s chronic illness,
and I/Dudley can’t see where I’m going, when
all this will end. On the days Horse trots along, I can
almost make out the conifer forests, evergreen against
snow-capped setbacks. But most days, he's galloping
pain, blurring my vision. Hope of recovery. Quick!
Look or you’ll miss me! There I am again
as Snidley Whiplash, tying a girl to the train tracks
with frayed rope. Oh please, look closer, don’t you see
I am also the girl. Hear the whistle blowing louder
and louder, hear how I’m always running out of time.
Anissa Lynne Johnson is a disabled writer and speaker from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Her work has appeared/is forthcoming in The Daily Drunk, Press Pause, Wig-Wag, and elsewhere. More often than not, Anissa can be found walking in the woods or watching the sort of movies that *sigh* never win awards. Say hello on Twitter @anissaljohnson.