They said, You need bed rest.
My twelve year old swollen joints
were not visible under the covers
nor when I fell up and down the stairs.
In coming years I took my homework to my bedroom;
locked away, I slept on my books.
My father's goiter was so very visible.
My hyperthyroidism was invisible,
although, as with my childhood RA,
fatigue hovered around me like an invisible cloak.
Anemia, iron and pernicious,
left me with a pale and jaundiced face.
Hospitalized, I slept on my college textbooks,
absorbing B12 and iron.
My room-mate whispered that I was wasting time with my books,
that I would never leave our room alive.
Type One and celiac invaded my life at sixty-three,
invisible to the world until I swallow pills or shoot insulin.
Diabetes and celiac, constant lifetime companions,
so prevalent that I see them in my mind
as clearly as I see my arthritic hands before my face.
Osteo-, no longer RA, haunts my bones.
Now I walk a little, not far or fast, but still I walk and type and live.
I am lucky that with my invisible disabilities,
I have not completely faded away, lost under the invisible cloak.