Gestures of Compassion

My daughter talks to autists
with her hands she guides them
across the intersections of communication
when she arrives in the playground
they smile, greet her with wobbly lips
relate the latest gossip with their body language
she doesn’t always understand their
bad semaphore; they change flags
in mid sentence
but she always smiles
she’s only nine

 

Bad children threw stones at them
insults and old tyres
the autists ran away, but she
held her ground, pummelled them with
her indignation; they knocked her down
their parents don’t like autists
say that they’re a bad influence in the neighborhood

 

My daughter plays basketball on stilts
she bounces down the field and nets three-pointers
again and again
she got a fast rebound in her face
cried and nearly overbalanced
it was so hard hugging wood
like an autist
but she understood

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© Johnmichael Simon

2004

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