9: Your Own Dance

9: Your Own Dance

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Raising Kids on the Spectrum

Your Own Dance

I am different, not less.

~Temple Grandin

It’s the little ones who unnerve me.

Small bodies flexible and strong.

They seem to leap to the top of the jungle gym, swinging

By one hand, they jump and land on two feet, laughing.

Their words weave simultaneously stories,

Negotiations, insults and shared delight.

They size each other up

Quickly and adjust accordingly,

The bully, the smart one, the prima donna.

Roles that shape them for the rest of their lives.

Around the perimeter of that same play yard

You stride, little alien, measuring

The meters with the rulers of your legs.

Your gaze is on the treetops, where leaves

Dance in the air and speak a fascinating language

Only you can hear. You stop to fling your hands

Wide, first one and then the other,

Flicking your fingers quickly in a rhythm

That must soothe your ruffled senses, must

Make sense.

In a world where making sense means making cents

The children on the play yard, the others,

Other people’s children,

Are already matriculating,

And you don’t even know

You’re left in the dust, and if you did

Know this, you would have only odd delight,

The way the fine dirt particles shimmer

In the translucent air,

The way the leaves

Dance to meet

Your frantic fingers.

~Melinda Coppola

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