Photos of honeycomb and bees have been layered into a rectangular repeating background.


I was happy, you see
To begin a journey with new colleagues
To earn a Ph.D. degree
But ableism had other plans for me

I disclosed my disability
I explained I could neither hear nor see
And I told them what I would need
To make inclusion a possibility

I told them particular support was key
A human being who advocates for me
Strives to make things barrier-free
And I told them we achieved inclusion as a team

They were cooperative at first
Eager to quench their thirst
For a Token that would make the bank burst
Exploiting my disability for the inspiration its worth

But their eagerness did not last long
For I did not passively tag along
They were held accountable for what they did wrong
Thanks to my human support who held strong

The college dean called a meeting
Said they didn’t mean any mistreating
And wanted to avoid further demeaning
But their words lost their true meaning

You see, we did some educating that day
An advocate defends her client’s needs, we say
Acts to keep exclusion at bay
And advocates no matter the snipes and sneers thrown her way

Ah, they say, we can make this okay
We understand the role you play
We honor guide dogs for the work they do each day
We could let you walk across the stage on graduation day

Shock overtook our thoughts like fog
For a human support is a guide dog?
How does one liken a guide dog to a human cog?
Is human support as foreign as smog?

We were a bit upset
That they saw her as a working pet
Meant to assist as they expect
And remain silent when they make a threat

We fought ableism ‘til emotions made us weary
And soon left, more hurt than cheery
We now turn to Disability Studies with a query
Why does human support become a “human guide dog” in the social imaginary?