Syracuse, NY 13210
Volume 4, 2004
Autism Poem #20: The Knot Garden
In my son’s brain, sounds travel on a difficult journey
through cortex and cerebellum, arrive with distortions,
different clusters of word associations, as if they were
travelers hacking their way through a hedge or a thicket
in unknown territory. We’re never certain
that what we say arrives at the station on time,
the train screeching its brakes, discharging passengers.
Autism’s a labyrinth of false twists and turnings,
blind passageways, spirals that lead nowhere.
Here, chevrons of geese wedge their way
across the sky each autumn; they know
where they are going, have purchased
tickets marked “South.” Our route is more
circuitous; two steps forward, one step back,
a knot garden where the possibilities diminish
as the years branch on. Too soon, we’ll arrive
at the alpine altitudes where the vegetation’s
scarce, the flowers tiny but exquisite,
the foliage barely visible.