Poems & Essays

20 Apr

After My Son’s Autism Diagnosis

General/Column No Response

You set a cup of tea in front of me,
like a solution, the sound of soft snoring
coming through the baby monitor. I drink it
because it gives my hands something
to do, not because it will feed me.

I’ve come to the end of a long novel, the trance
broken. Goodnight, little prince: the first
words I’ve said in hours. The first
since is there a cure? The answer
rattling in my body: no. Darkness flling
a porcelain cup. We left the city, trees
(as we gained momentum) huddling closer
and closer together. No one got off at our stop.

I forgot to check the mail, I say suddenly,
slipping barefoot out the front door. Cold
envelopes fill the crook of my elbow,
the neighbors’ homes dark, unmoving.

I cut up the mail, like a solution, the sound of
soft snoring coming from the couch. AUTISM
idling in the search bar. I close your laptop
because it gives my hands something to do,
not because I believe we have an answer.

Heather Cadenhead is the author of Inventory of Sleeping Things (Maverick Duck Press) and the mother of two boys, one of whom is on the autism spectrum. You can connect with her on Instagram @themaptomilo.

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