Before My Son’s Autism Diagnosis

Nine months of darkness, then
the sound of scissors and we separate.
I thought I’d love you because you were
part of me, feathered limb of a sumac—
but it was like falling asleep. Something
I did without fear of consequences.

That first night, you made the house
ache with your sadness. Open mouth
of a baby bird, longing. But you took nothing,
the thing I begged you not to take. Something
I didn’t know how to give.

Heather Cadenhead graduated from Union University and is the mother of two boys, one of whom is on the autism spectrum. She writes at frayedflowers.com.

Image by Bri Stoterau/Flickr, under CC BY-NC 2.0 license.