Poetry

autistic child …

 autistic child with acute auditory processing disorder

in the foetal position in the museum toilets, hands clamped over my ears, shrieking

trying to say there’s a dryer, there’s a dryer, any second now someone will set it off

the sound will be a faceful of boiling water

I’m sorry, your patient explanations are not getting through. It’s a very bad line.

at the indoor swimming pool, crouched behind the waterslide, poo-ing into my damp trunks

trying to say I have to get out, the echoes are attacking me in four dimensions, I’m on a bad trip and I can’t come down

at the backyard washing line, moaning and trying to burrow under the grass

trying to say there’s a bird, there’s a bird, it’s going to swoop down and screech in my ear

the sound will feel like an ice pick in my skull

Your cognitive behaviour therapy is not getting through at all. It is a very bad line.

at my cousin’s birthday party, buried under the lounge cushions and wailing like a siren

trying to say I can’t stand it, the music and the voices are tearing at me, pecking me apart like vultures

in my bedroom after school, kicking my three-year-old sister in the face

trying to say go away, go away, you’re noisy, you’re unpredictable

I’ve been clinging to a cliff face for six hours and you’re dangling yourself from my ankles

running across a six-lane road, terrified of a toy poodle on the footpath

trying to say there’s a dog, there’s a dog, it’s going to bark

the sound will slug me like a sandpaper boxing glove

Your elaborate reward and punishment system, your guilt trips, your lectures, your bellowing and tears aren’t getting through either. This is a very bad line.

I’m on my first school excursion, going through the bus-wash and laughing with the other kids

I’m trying to say I can cope with this, I can even enjoy it

because you made me a schedule with lovely safe pictures and let me look at it all day

I am

a calm buzzy feeling of happy

the stuff I need seems to be getting through—

just not on the very bad line.

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