Even if all the pain I’ve felt in my whole life doesn’t equal

the pressure an astronaut experiences in G-forces on reentry,

even if the fact that I’ve been staring up since I was born —

at people and the stars — isn’t enough,

even if I was born with arthritis,

cushioning between my bones faulty,

even though I’m beneath your stated height restrictions,

I was shorter than every water slide and roller coaster I’ve ridden on too,

even when my lower left back feels like

it’s been hollowed out with a jagged spoon,

even through the spreading unfeeling,

numbness from my butt to my toes,

even if my room at 10 and 25 shines

with green glow-in-the-dark stick-on stars,

even when sneezing feels like I’ll push

my spine out of alignment,

still I’m strong. I may be one of the strongest

candidates you’ve ever had.