Poems & Essays

20 Nov

Motherhood: Autism

Toddlers to Teens No Response

Autist, owl-child
winged son, meant to soar
the moonless night

I feed you knowledge that you swallow whole,
disgorge the indigestible—
feathers, bones, the very sinews
falling fruitless to the earth beneath
our nesting place.

Threatened, you attack
wings writhing
talons etching flesh

or worse, you flee,
claim refuge in
riven rock or
secret boughs where
a caul of feathers is
obscurity.

Yet there is wonder
in the power of your passions
and your sovereign solitude.

Owls, grounded,
are prey to pumas, serpents,
taunting boys.
Full-fledged, now
you must take the sky
or die.

But I, earthbound mother,
how can I teach you that
which I will never understand?

 

 

Bonnie Pike is the mom of nine children, all of them adults; two of them are still at home, and always will be. She wrote the “Senior Mama” column for a few years over at Literary Mama. She has had work published elsewhere as well, in both literary journals and commercial magazines, and has received a Fellowship in Creative Nonfiction from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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