by Sami Bennett

a poem

I’m going to tell you a story [she said]
Once there was a girl
who didn’t know how to say… something
she wanted badly to say it
she tried hard to say it
everyone expected her to say it
but she couldn’t say it
she didn’t know how
and no one knew how to teach it

she would grow very sad
because she wanted to say it
her eyes would tear up
her throat would choke
her heart would break
but still she could not say it
because she didn’t know how

and eventually they decided
she couldn’t say it like everyone else
that she didn’t know how
and that she wouldn’t know how
maybe ever

and she was afraid to try
because she was afraid it would be wrong
and she thought maybe it didn’t matter
(to make herself feel better)
because she could live like this
not knowing how
and that was the only her she knew
and she was afraid that if she did manage to say it
they wouldn’t like what they heard

Note: This poem was an attempt to empathize with my brother who has autism and is unable to communicate as effectively as neurotypical people.