Two Poems by Sherine Gilmour

World. Eyes. Home. This is Not an Autism Poem.


There are no tests in this poem. No anxiety here.
No Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers.
No MCHAT, MCHAT-R, parental support documents.
No pitocin studies, maternal age, nature vs. nurture,
first born gender, “breakthrough” studies
that fail to pinpoint cause and never offer anything.
No stranger on the street saying What’s wrong
with your kid? No nanny saying your child
may have had a seizure on the swings but she’s not sure.
No doctor saying Wait another six months and see.
No insomnia in your big grown-up bed, slippery
moonlight stalking in while your child sleeps fitfully
in another room. No moonlight in this poem. No night.
And no worries. Because this is not an autism poem.


No crying in broad daylight on the street,
child warm and sweet in your arms.
There are no eyes in this poem. Not your eyes
judging your child. Not his eyes, not looking at you.
No fear when you hug him of never again.
No fear anything will take him away. Unstoppable.
No chance your child is closing up,
a flower in neurological snow.
Still the memory of your beautiful newborn baby,
clad only in a diaper, his soft belly, perfect lips.
Still the memory of the first time he called you mama,
the sound of his voice before he lost his words.
And now there is the smell of his hair as you hold him tight
and continue to walk home.


No house full of toys unplayed with.
No basketball net white and perfect. No trucks
that sit still, boats never floated,
toy phone with google eyes that never wiggle.
No gag reflex like having to swallow
a thick gelatinous substance day after day.
No looking like a bird like a predator at your own child
sitting in the high chair. No squinting for a glimmer, a hope,
the chance you can pull him back, the day it will end, the cure.
The child, the little blond boy scooping handfuls of lentils
and cramming them into his mouth. Green grapes. Tomatoes.
No waiting for his big beautiful eyes.
No fear that someday you will be alone in your home
but with him there, too. Because this is not an autism poem.

My fox, my hound, my wolf pup, my son, my litter, my one beautiful fate.

Pediatric Laboratory Feces Test #1


I was given lab instructions and a tiny spoon.
I kneel on the floor, holding my son’s diaper,
and measure the right amount

into each vial of unknown fluid, lethal fluid
labeled with his name by my own hand,
rank smell of formaldehyde in the air.

I was given lab instructions and a tiny spoon.
Plastic gloves. Fucked up world.
“Please act like tea leaves,” I say out loud

my voice, alien in the room.
I want this shit to tell me how to help.
I kneel on the floor and measure the right amount.

Yeast shit, bacteria shit. Neurological impairment. Autism shit.
Possible heavy metal poisoning. Mitochondrial damage.
Could be he contracted something from me? From the hospital?

The pediatrician doesn’t know,
offers guesses and prescriptions.
Shit. Shit. Shit that is fucking with my child.

My sweet baby now asleep in his crib.
I think of how I fed him applesauce in a little bowl,
wiped his face, and kissed his cheek.

(Just these thoughts, and in my skin, I can feel
the warmth of him. His body
is my body. His body held to mine.)

I kneel and put the vials down, shaky, on the floor.
Lined up then sealed
in endless bags labeled “Toxic.”

I was given lab instructions and a cardboard box.
I sit rigid on the couch, sun ticking like a clock
across my face, and wait for FedEX to pick them up.
Powerless shit. Powerful shit.


Sherine Elise Gilmour graduated with an M.F.A. in Poetry from New York University. She was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her poems have appeared or are forthcoming from Green Mountains Review, Many Mountains Moving, Oxford University Press, River Styx, and other publications.






Featured Image:  Stars Sky Night Galaxy, Anunturi gratuite






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