R Word

You tell me all you mean is “stupid”.

But he was eight when he told me

“They said there’s something wrong with me”.

Imagine your thoughts

Muddled, confined, twisted, warped, imprisoned.

Trapped, you’re trapped.

Imagine you can’t speak, no, not for yourself.

You think “I don’t want juice. I like her. My tummy hurts. I love you. Leave me alone.”




Bend glass, break chairs.

He was five when his eyes screamed the silence of the words

I couldn’t hear.

Imagine boring into the backs of others

Who don’t realize

You’re just tired as them, maybe more.

They walk, run, swim, fly

Away from you.

You just wanted

A hand hug.

He was seven when

A man dressed in a granddad’s cap

Handed me an Avengers lunch box, told me

“Good luck with that thing”.

Imagine no control over your body.

He punches her in the gums,

Makes her cry and bleed,

His own


Imagine the only way to tell

Your frustration, anxiety is

Grating nails over forearms,

Piercing, sawing, biting, calling


He was nine when

His fist snapped against my cheek and

All I could do

Was hold him.

Imagine being stared at, glared at by

Teachers, doctors, mothers,

That family at the zoo.

Kids on the playground point at you

With manicured digits.

He was eleven when

They tapped his two front teeth that

They thought stuck out too far.

Asked him, “Why do you look like that?”

I can still feel

Him suffocating my waist,

Desperation in embrace.

Imagine a wall of judges

“What’s wrong with you?” You are

Weird, ugly, different, ugh

“He just like…makes me uncomfortable”.

He may bark at the sun,

And I’d never known a

Greater impression of a howler monkey or

A brighter

Batman impersonator

But still

He was 17 when he asked

“Why will no one be my friend?”

They tell you you’ll never live on your own,


No job either. And your life will end

Lonely, soon even.

Maybe in a house, in a room, no carpet.

He said he would be a baseball player

If he could.

Or a lunch lady, and I swore he should.


He was 19 when he told me

The doctor said he wouldn’t live much longer.

“That’s the way it goes”.

Imagine you grow older in body

But not in mind

A senior citizen dressed in

Frail bones and wrinkled eyes


A Frozen backpack filled with

A pizza Lunchable

She was 66 when she handed me

A homemade drawing of a

Glittery fish. Asked

”What’s cookin’ good lookin’ shakin’ bakin’?”


Tell me all you just mean is “stupid”.

Tell me you’re right, YOU.

YOU with the


Control, body and mind.

Laugh in light of your ability

Use the word,

Because YOU got lucky.

The world tossed you a gift

The typicality of your

Development. YOU, a product of


Use that as

Superior stance.

Because he was eight when

I told him he was perfect,

And he told me

I was wrong.