Poetry

My autism diagnosis was like a (super late) letter from Hogwarts

It’s the explanation for all my quirks, from my vacant gaze

during conversations to my comfort-first wardrobe.

It’s my Hogwarts Express ticket: once I jumped through the barrier

I finally allowed myself to be me, no longer forcing myself to hide.

I released all the movements I held back for fear of being weird: flapping, rocking,

spinning around and holding my arms wide to catch the breeze on my skin.

 

It’s true, I can’t vanish glass, stun anyone or cast a bat-bogey hex.

But I can talk for hours about writing, old books and Sailor Moon.

 

Some days I can be silent, absorbed deep in my work

or lacking the energy to even move my mouth

and it always bothered me why no-one else seemed to do this.

 

Now I’ve realised there are others out there like me, who prefer

teaspoons to big spoons, see patterns everywhere

and wear sunglasses in supermarkets.

 

Harry got a visit from Hagrid.

I spoke to a psychologist.

The news they gave changed our lives forever.

 

Poetry

Off Beat

‘Did someone pull you by the hand?’

you ask.

 

‘No,’ I answer. ‘My heart discovered

it was beating a different rhythm

to the one it thought it beat.

 

It was shocked, angry at itself

and guilty when it discovered that no matter how hard it tried,

it couldn’t find the melody it’d lost.

 

The new one was too strong,

too wild, too free and

too accepting of itself.’

 

‘And of the heart

whose rhythm it once matched?’

 

‘It beats still, sound and capable,

ready to find another

to fall into sync with.

 

Mild and honest, it will always

be true to its owner.’

Poetry

A serving of shells and gems

On the table in the quiet inn

are spent bullets, spelling out the words

‘You are empty’.

You stare at them;

everyone you’ve spoken to before

seems to reinforce

the message as true.

 

Then in the palm of your hand

a warmth spreads out to your fingertips.

You look up to see the barmaid

grinning at you mysteriously, motioning to wave your hand

over the bullets.

 

You do so,

and before your eyes

they turn into gems

polished so brightly

that their brilliance overshadows

all the scars the bullets left on your skin.

 

‘You gave me this power?’ you ask the maid.

‘No,’ she replies,

‘it was yours to begin with.’

Poetry

Monsters

In my mind after

it breaks down, the world

creeps up on me.

It’s a monster

in my head, sinking its nails in

until I bleed out.

 

Upside down,

I break through. Struggling for air

as I crash the surface,

tearing at the dark scales that cover my eyes.

 

I am a hunter, but also the hunted.

I am the monster.

I am the monster

of the world in my head.

Poetry

To speak aloud

‘Who will slay this troublesome claw?’

I ask Night’s cloaked face.

Night snorts out a star, and says,

‘Claw? What claw?

I see only

a man digging the pit

in which he will die from his efforts.’

‘Do you mock me, Night?’ I say.

‘No, I do not mock you. I pity

you, for thinking that I do.’

And then Night turns its collar up,

strolling off into the Way.

Poetry

Open your eyes

Fire climbs up my flesh,

seeping through my pores –

my veins are charged

with impulse.

The ledge of the world is before me.

I step up and finally

see the vastness beyond.

Coiled, my knees spring

to launch

my body down.

I ride the air’s waterfall;

I don’t fear the fall.

Someone will catch me.

They always do.

And if that fails, my shoulders

will ignite with ember-flower wings

to carry me back

where I belong.