Thursday, January 5, 2023


His fingers would flutter
All over his own face
And then vigorously
Tap both sides of his nose.

His hands would rub his nose
Almost furiously
As if to wake it up.
His eyes stared far away,

Looking inside, of course,
Where the real action was
For him, whatever thoughts
And daydreams played on loops.

He was bright and verbal,
Highly articulate.
But he began to spot
Occasional others

With similar habits,
Kids who rocked in circles,
Fluttered their hands like birds,
Or tapped and tapped on things—

And he saw they were all
Strange, and they were all mocked
By kids they’d made nervous,
And most of them were dim.

He knew he was fragile,
And crooked, and special,
But not special like them,
Had to be not like them.

So he got things, mostly,
Under control, tapping
Fingers literally
Under the table, out

Of sight, behind his back,
Only rubbing his face
Fiercely when all alone,
And he kept himself clear,

At last, of the retard
Taunts, and he made himself
A sort of professor,
But still he tapped and tapped,

Until as an old man
He noticed a fashion
For self-diagnosis,
Grownups crowding his spec,

And he wanted to say,
Look, he was always here,
But more preferred to keep
His kind of private queer.

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