Tag Archives: autism

When

When your eight year-old
Tells you
What he wants
To be buried
Because he’s so angry
At you
Because you
Took something
Away from him
When he was six
And he wants
To kill himself
Because of it
And he wants
To get a knife
And stab his heart
What do you say?

When he says
He’s been sad
Every day
Sad
Because that thing
Is gone
Sad on roller coasters
Sad at the zoo
Sad laughing
Sad smiling
Sad
What do you say?

When he says
He hated
The replacement
He later got
At Christmas
And didn’t tell you
He hated it
Because he didn’t
Want to hurt
Your feelings
What do you say?

When he cries
The cry of loss
Unrecoverable loss
Bone rattling loss
And the tears
Will not stop
And the cries
Of anguish
Echo in the void
And you know
You know
Where he’s at
Because you
You’ve been there too
And he’s only eight
Only eight
And you see
Before your eyes
This piece
Of your child
Tear away
And you can’t
Can’t
Stop it
And you know
He’s there alone
When you’re right there
What do you say?

When he says
He hates you
And hates his life
And wants to die
And wants you to die
And his life is shit
And you’re a son of a bitch
And a fucker
And an asshole
And he wants to die
Please let me die daddy
I hate my life
Please let me die
You fucker
What do you say?

When he wants
That thing
And you’re the hate
Because it’s gone
Because you took it
You fucker
What do you say?

When you know
It’s his brain
And he’s tired
And the new meds
Might be talking
He doesn’t mean it
It’s not him
What do you say?

When he runs
For the knives
And knees you
In the head
Hard
Hard, to make you cry
And he wants to die
Wants to die
And his brother
Cries
Terrified
What do you say?

When you think
You did the right thing
The best you could
All you could
Right then
Right now
And one day
He may understand
But not tonight
Not now
You fucker
You asshole
You son of a bitch
You mothefucker
You shit
You bastard
Fuck you
Leave me alone
I want to die
Let me die
Go the fuck away
Go the fuck away
Let me die
Let me die
What do you say?

When he finally drops
Exhausted
Mumbling
Still obsessed
And asking
Asking asking
Asking for it back
And you shush him
And you kiss him
Goodnight
On the knit forehead
You used to nuzzle
When he was baby small
And tell him
You love him
And he whispers back
With a smile
I love you too
What do you say?

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Atonement

I weaved, and luckily the feces flew by my face.

“You’re the worst fucking dad in the world! I fucking hate you! I want to get out of here!”

The shrill pipe of the scream doesn’t mesh with the adult curse. I have to remind myself not to take it personally and that he learned it from the kid with Tourette’s. The angry boy is here now, not the sweet one who calls kittens cute.

“You need to get cleaned up. You’re hungry. You need to eat.”

“Grrrrrrrrrrrraaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!” GO! AWAY!” His fists start windmilling at me and he also tries to kick. His head’s down, but I can see him looking out the corners of his eyes, trying to avoid stepping in his own effluent.

I hold him away with my arm. I’m hoping he doesn’t grab me. I don’t want shit on my sleeve. “You need to get cleaned up.”

“Go away! I hate you!”

It stinks in here. There’s piss and shit on the linoleum floor and the padded walls. I’d be angry about being in here, too.

“Come on, let’s go get you cleaned up.”

“RRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!” He leans into me and lands a few glancing blows on my chest. Satisfied, he pulls back and crouches in the corner.

“Mark, you can’t sit in this room naked from the waist down all day. What are you going to do?”

“Go away, dad. I hate you.”

“What do you want to do here?” the principal asks me from behind.

“I don’t know yet. I think wrap him in a towel or blanket and take him to my car.”

“I’m not going, dad. I’m staying here.”

“I thought you wanted to leave?”

“I’m not going anywhere with you.” He pokes at a turd with his finger.

Later that evening at storytime he interrupts me, “Dad, I was thinking that in graveyards, they should have bells on top of tombstones attached to strings that you could pull from inside the coffin in case someone was buried by mistake.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah, that way they could ring the bell and someone could come and dig them up.”

“Where did you hear about that?”

“Nowhere. I just thought it up.”

When I turn out the light, kiss him goodnight, and tell him I love him, he tells me in a quiet whisper, “I love you dad. I’m sorry about today. I don’t mean what I say when I’m angry. You’re the best dad in the whole world.”

“Thanks, Mark, I love you too.”