Echolalia

On a middle school
field trip you

proposed to me
with a ring of white

clovers your best
friend knotted

together and gave
you, saying Go.

A few girls
braided their arms

and hunched
around us

as you got on one
knee and asked me

to marry you.
How else can

I say I’m autistic,
but to point

to the wildered
look on my face

as laughter broke
against your teeth,

how everyone
dispersed when

I, little by little,
restated the question,

the ring losing its shape
between my thumbs?

I learned love
the same afternoon

I learned violence,
there on the browning

field waiting for you
to come back

until you were looming
behind me again,

telling me
to stand up,

and when I stood,
telling me

to kiss you. I said
Where are your friends?

and you said
nothing, but

hooked your palms
to my cheeks

and lifted
my face to yours

and filled
yourself with me.

When you were gone,
I sat down,

filled and refilled
my knuckles with white

clovers, tore them
stem from bud and

hurled them onto
the yellow matted grass.

Jenna Nesky is an autistic, Jewish, bisexual teen writer and poet. She is in tenth grade at Carver Center for Arts and Technology in the literary prime. From Maryland, she turns sixteen this year.

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1 Response to Echolalia

  1. Thank you for this poem, one that will stay with me. There is so much here. So compressed, yet vast. So many incredible lines and such keen sensitivity to sound. Great work. Hope to read more from you!

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