Yesterday I dropped off my kid to driver’s training, and he hesitated before exiting the car.
“Mom. I was published today. Here’s I bought this for you.”
He handed me his school’s literary journal and trod off through the snow to school after school. My son is different from any other person on earth, and you will know that after speaking to him for more than 45 seconds. When he told me he was submitting a poem to the literary journal at school, I had to admit, even I was surprised. My kid is constantly surprising me. I never knew what to expect for him, not because he’s uncomfortably unpredictable, because he isn’t. I couldn’t picture what life for a teenager with Asperger Syndrome would look like. He surprises me because he embraces his other-ness and wears it like a badge of honor. He cares about people. Connects with people, and has genuine friendships. He is remarkable in a way I never imagined I could hope for him.
When I say I have teenagers, I am often met with a “knowing” look of shared despair, but I love having this guy in my life. I love learning who he is, and I can: because he’s willing to share his transformation with me, and we are both better for it.
I asked Peter if I could post the entire poem because I think it’s good (and not just because my kid wrote it), he assented.
Semper Manere by Peter Andrews
In this corrupted, decrepit home
a chaotic mess expanded forth.
a myriad of photographs,
an old cuckoo clock,
a nearly empty bottle of bubbles
thrown on the ground
drenching ancient magazines.
Coffee stains where a desk once was
speckling the floor,
a champion’s trophy, once glorious,
A once-deified idol, now broken and bent,
but the pictures looked happy, from what I could tell.
Pictures of jolly people eating pretzels covered in butter.
It looked like they were having a swell time.
There was a picture of a farmer milking a cow
while his children churned butter on the porch.
Who were these people?
What was their story?
Pictures of a sphinx fighting a Paladin,
of and old advertisement for aluminum foil,
of a Maine coon kitten, like my little Penelope.
I felt a tinge of sadness when I finally set it down.
A picture of a jungle,
where chimpanzees looked toward the camera.
Pictures of a high-voltage power pant and a little girl in a tutu.
A decrepit history book opened to a page
with images of a Pharaoh subjugating his enemies.
In this crypt
I stared with contemplation
at this heap of so-called trash;
trash filled with memories of a better time.
To the people who lived here
it was their sanctified treasure
of which I came to rob them.
So I showed them mercy and left in peace.
Semper manere; manere in memoria.