We Need a Great Flock of Stories

by Eli Clare

Each photo: one
story, two; two stories,
three; three stories,
four, multiplied.

I read the placards,
pins, slogans: No more
negotiating. Enough.
Sign 504 now. IAM.
Human rights.
Solidarity.

Let
their
words
rumble.

What lies between
these photos, behind
and beneath—whose voices,
languages, poems?

I read the signs
they carried: Access
to work. Can’t
back down. You might
break your neck. Sign
504. Remove the barriers or
we’ll level them.

Let
their
words
sink in.

They planned rebellion, slept
rebellion, talked rebellion, argued
rebellion, strategized rebellion,
laughed and cried and

refused to back down. They
wrote: The hunger strike
is in its 15th day! Keep
your campaign promises.
MCW supports 504.
Suffered enough. Please
no more. Bastante.

Let us
slur,
stutter,
drool
our rebellion.

Trail our fingers across
this history, feel its cracks,
bumps, holes, how much has been
lost and whitewashed.

Not one but two, not
two but three—we need
a great flock of stories.

They left us:
Sign 504. Handicapped
human rights. Disabled
In Action. Human
rights for all. 504
victory.

Let
these photos
be signposts, neither

the beginning nor the end.