In black and white

To those who tell me

I’m not really ill

as if they’d expertise,

making me as invisible

as my dis-ease;


To those who say I’m fortunate

That I must stay all day in bed,

words ignorant of whys,

my seeming health a disguise,

until you comprehend

do not criticize;


Pierce my probing gaze

To find the imprints

Writ between the lines

inscribed in black and white;

Evidence against your lies –


No, it’s not in my mind;

not a matter of mind over matter

nor solved by a change of creed

or denigrating chatter,

you neither know my skills

nor my needs,

you seek only vulnerabilities,


These issues in my cells,

structures, systems;

I am no more well

than ignorance is wisdom,


Those that tell me to try harder

do not see the daily battles

fought with words, acts, smiles,


They say I should toughen up;

they’ve no sense of the strength

It takes for me, and others like me

to keep being us, at any length


Those who look to judge me –

Pierce my piercing eyes,

in them, I write an odyssey,

In them, I’ve categorised

the DNA of memory

Full spectrum, black and white

This part of my philosophy:

To negate another’s struggles

sets that person’s strengths aside;

those who negate another’s struggles

have those struggles underlined

like a fault that needs correcting –


but I am not defined by angry monochrome…

it is not my struggles I’m protecting

but the knowledge that I’m fighting them

whatever others are projecting.


You may not see our battle scars,

but know this; we are not victims

we are this world’s warriors.


Antonia Sara Zenkevitch



the top half of a woman's face, in grey, black and white reminissant of newspaper or zebra stripes. She stares directly at the watcher.
Zebra Eyes, by Antonia Sara Zenkevitch


  1. V.J. Knutson says:

    Well said, and thank you for speaking for many of us. It’s a battle we all fight.

    1. antoniazen says:


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