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April

Updated: Apr 29

It’s been a busy month. Easter, birthdays, preparing for a family wedding that was postponed and rescheduled. Book stuff. Life stuff. And “events” like National Poetry Month and National Autism Awareness/Acceptance Month, which typically make me feel guilty for not being a better writer or better advocate or better whatever-it-is-the-world-is-calling-on-me-to-be. But, today, since there’s so little of the month left (Thirty days hath September, April, June, and . . . ugh), I’m celebrating both at once.


There was a time in my life when each thing—autism or poetry—consumed me. In grad school, I read and wrote (or rewrote) poems every day. I listened to them on a little green iPod. And, then, after my son was born, I lived and breathed each new diagnosis. Autism arrived in 2012.


It was almost as if I couldn’t give one thing the attention it deserved without putting another thing aside. Poetry and autism didn’t overlap. But April is proof—and Charlie is proof—that they do.


I think about how autism “awareness” is evolving into “acceptance,” and, for FWIW, I approve. There’s more room for everything in acceptance. Even poetry. But I know firsthand that it can be a leap from one to the other, and it’s OK (at least IMHO) for the first step of any journey to begin with the words “I’m aware.”


APRIL 2012


I am aware

of a pebble as it vibrates

against the floor of a little

red wagon, so small and quick,

it hardly seems to move at all,


until the tap becomes a rumble,

and a handful of torn tickets swarm

a stainless elevator car as

the train bullies

the wind past our faces.


For just one second,

my hair blows before my eyes,

and I don’t see your fingers close

into fists or your back straighten

like a soldier’s before


you lift your arms into

something like flight. I only

feel the air as you stir it,

and I am aware

that this is joy.






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