The Story Nabakov Wrote about my Autistic Son
after “Signs and Symbols”
The birds with human feet
and the ones in the bath.
How one is always floating.
The patches of skin where the acne appears.
The art of being perceived as deranged.
Obsessions like trains
and deciphering clouds,
ripples counted in pools of water.
Language distorted into nothing,
the incoherence of patterns and pictures,
the fear of public restrooms
and the special school.
The phobias that become a dense tangle
of logically interacting illusions.
The mothers who accept the loss of joy
and the fathers who don’t.
The recurrent waves of pain.
How the vulnerable meet their fate,
are crushed or contained by the world.
A child humming to himself in a corner.
The beautiful weeds that can’t hide from the farmer.
Originally published in Red Wheelbarrow, (January 2019). Copyright © 2019 by Rosemarie Dombrowski. Used with the permission of the author.