April is National Poetry Month and Autism Awareness Month.
Since I’m a poet, have a son with autism and also know how to
multi-task, I always write a poem to celebrate both topics.
I parked right behind this mini-mall ---
It’s upscale and not at all sleazy
That offers a trifecta of pleasure: Peet’s,
Einstein Bros. and Fresh & Easy.
Before we got out for a snack, I thought:
My son Jeremy & I now are
Just a couple of guys out in the world
Casually relaxing in our car.
Jeremy gave me a fist bump & I recalled
Time that I spent with my Dad.
He didn’t notice what happened next ---
He was too absorbed in his iPad.
A well-to-do mom with several little ones
Sped up in her SUV
Sighed like a bad community theater actor
And then glared at me.
“You know,” she hissed through her open window
Pointing at my grown-up son,
“That spot is only supposed to be used by people
With children who are young.”
I did know this because there was a sign
Maybe ten feet from my face
Explaining the special people entitled to
Park in this particular place.
I told her, “My son’s autistic.” This fact
Sliced into her complaint like a knife.
“So, he’s pretty much going to be a child
For pretty much the rest of his life.
That’s the reason I’m parking here. I hope
I’m clearly explaining my view.”
Simultaneously shocked and also stunned
She now didn’t know what to do.
She began mumbling some kind of response.
I let this go on for a few
Moments, smiled and then asked her politely,
“Is this okay with you?”
Now more humiliated, she said sure it was.
Aware how badly she’d blundered
She then raced off faster than a car trying to
Finish the last lap at the Indy 500.
I’m sure our chat made an impact on her like
Being pelted by a fistful of rocks
And she realized how truly lucky she was for
At least two or maybe three blocks.