Sunday, January 19, 2014


It started with a need to learn about
My son, his mind, cast ignorance and doubt
Away so we could help him speak and cope
And find in autism some little hope.

I shared my findings with my wife and brother,
The two who know me best, except my mother
Who is more sadly dead with children who
She wanted yelling, "Grandma!" at her through

The windows of our van as we drove up
The drive. The red brick house that filled the cup
Of me as I sat in my room, alone
And reading books and making lists to hone

Me into who I have become, the one
Whose neural structures, passed on to his son,
Intensified in passing on. I read
About my son, but then that learning spread

To insights into me. My brother, wife
Both saw a brother's and a husband's strife
In life explained. They told me, "You have that."
Impossible! No speech delay. A brat

Who threw himself down on the floor to scream
With every little thing? You could not dream
Of having children who behaved so well
As I. But I lived in a shell, a cell

I made myself. I did not socialize,
But loved to learn and oftentimes seemed wise
When I was very young. Obsessed with sharks,
Then plants -- the endless lists of orchids marks

Me with the patterns that my son will see
As he grows older. Cars lined up since three
The first to show us who he is. The stress
I felt through life make sense at last. I press

Into myself the more I learn. I found
Myself at last. I feel myself on ground,
Not sand, at last. I'm present to my past
And know the neural mold from which I'm cast.

What could I learn from mom, now dead so long?
What would she think of this? This woman, strong
In dying, would perhaps have shown her strength
In love and dedication. The length

I've gone to learn about my son to lead
To me to lead to her has truly freed
Me so that I can see how others think
Of me and of my son, to at last link

With all those people that I found so strange
So that I can expand myself, my range.
And what I learn for me I can pass on
So that my son won't feel a helpless pawn.


  1. Interesting take on Turing. My son is borderline -- he has sensory integration dysfunction an a nonverbal learning disorder. He does not have one interest an is remarkable in his variety of interests and knowledge. He's at the top of his class -- very bright -- but change in routine is difficult, etc. In addition to teaching English, journalism, and creative writing, I, too, am a poet. I have an MFA in poetry, actually, and here's a link to my poem entitled "Spectrum" which is about when we first realized something was different about my son.

  2. My interests have been quite wide-ranging, though typically one thing (or a small subgroup) at a time. As a consequence, I'm an interdisciplinary scholar and poet. :-)


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