“If You’ve Met One Autistic Person, You’ve Met One Autistic Person” by Tom C. Hunley

Tom C. Hunley


—popular saying within the ASD support community

My son’s the only person that I know
who thinks this way, who acts this way.
The boy eats three potatoes every day.
He says he wants to gain weight, wants to grow

his waist. To keep from melting down, he’ll throw
ice cubes across our yard. A game. Who plays?
My son’s the only person. That I know.
Who thinks this way? Who acts this way?

Who asks how much you weigh? How fast you’ll grow?
Who says whatever their heart says to say?
Don’t let him bend to suit the world, I pray.
Who dreams up paths where no one else can go?
My son’s the only person that I know.

from Rattle #74, Winter 2021


Tom C. Hunley: “Most of the poems in Adjusting to the Lights are about my son Evan. I’m grateful to Rattle for including it in their chapbook series, and I’m grateful to the 100+ readers who sent me kind notes about the poems, but I feel like I need to make a disclaimer. I don’t deserve full credit for writing those poems. The way Evan’s mind works, the way he approaches life—it’s fully formed surrealist poetry happening right in front of my eyes. All I had to do was jot down what was happening right in front of me. This particular poem, in case you’re wondering, is a rondel, one of the many wonderful forms that, aside from crepes and the Statue of Liberty, are France’s greatest gifts to us.” (web)

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