My baby brother is autistic.
It’s not something I readily admit to people. He’s a wonderful little boy despite it–aren’t they all, and the little girls, too–and I try not to let that color my perception of him. I remember the day, the moment he came into his world. This month, four days before my mama’s birthday, he turns nine. My world would not be the same without him, and for that, even with its hardships I am thankful.
I want to watch him grow and be taller than me.
For the Midget
The air displaced–it knew, right before the vibration–
The little one is coming, and you should come, too–
And bear witness to Life entering the room,
As deja vu comes over you; yes, we sisters three
Traveled the same path to light and sound
Where shrouded in Mother we could not partake;
And now he enters, an early gift, this child of ours.
And that poor little face, marred by skin sucked dry
Still handsome in our eyes, our precious boy;
Cognizant were we to the milestones of being,
Tiny fingers grasping tight, edentulous smiles
Accompanied by sweet giggles, cooing like music;
From roving hands to sturdy legs we watched him move
Mirth sparkling from his dark eyes
But his words, incomprehensible.
Wait–we said, hope in our hearts
Until the consensus was made: Something is not right;
Objects of play lined up with startling efficiency
And garbled language incited alarm–
Fear took over, and I would be remiss if I denied it;
Knowing presents a remarkable weapon
And to deny this special child–a heinous crime.
But his heart, that little thumping organ
Bigger seemingly in figurative terms;
Taking up the spoon, making sure the smaller one ate
Ruthlessly, forgetting himself and his own appetite
Until presented with a notebook, a blank canvas;
He colored till his fingers stained
Only to pause to ask us, How was your day?
Out in the world is he now, with others his own size,
Lining up to have a work of art fashioned in his hand
With depth and splashes of color that belie his age;
He meets me at the door with tiny arms outstretched
And reads a short tale from a hand-made book;
How far he’s come, I muse, our little man
And further he’ll go, us propelling his burgeoning wings.