The World & You Get Bigger

A Poem by April Salzano

in nearly equal proportions. What I can protect
you from multiplies thousandfold, hands
of strangers, lights too bright, sounds unrecognized.
When I am not there to translate, what happens?
There are pants on your legs, fabric
touching skin, arms around you, unwanted
as a straitjacket. Voices are but noises, meaning,
lost, bounces off walls, comes back more jumbled.
You have grown stocky. Your carbohydrate-bloat
has become a conversation piece.
I want to find the child you replaced, the tiny baby
you hid under the bed when you spread like ivy
in the sheets, taking over the house.
Vines hold my heart, walls eclipsed by climbing
shoots, searching for shade.

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Their Smiles Are Starting to Change

A Poem by April Salzano

My son is the biggest baby in the room.
He doesn’t know there is an age limit
on jumping and squealing in the mall playland
with the spongey floor, that straight-arming
a kid who will not leave him alone
is not the appropriate solution. It may
make perfect sense, but it will just
piss his 20-year-old mother off enough
to threaten me with her raccoon eyes.
It is not cute or gentle. Her son is planted
into the carpet.

In the women’s restroom,
I feel an iris burning
its way into my back, my life
opening for scrutiny. He is too big to be in here,
as if I am carrying an 8-year-old fetus
into the stall. He hides from the automatic
hand dryer and I get it, the smile of sympathy
that really isn’t. It is more of a unfinished question—
is there something…? Is he…? He counts
the floor tiles, frames the logo on the soap dispenser
with his hands, one eye closed, then covers his ears.
Then, yes…The women are still staring and asking,
but the hand dryer is so loud, I have to look away.

Audio Filtering

A Poem by April Salzano

is not the same as stimming
or echolalic speech, though each
involves repetition
of repetition
and repeats. Filters.
Both an attempt to understand
and an offering of understanding,
its own process to process
information, the sound
of words of words of words,
and the words of sounds.

*echolalia is the seemingly meaningless repetition of another’s words rather than functional communication

*stimming is self-stimulatory behavior common in autistic children (ie, rocking, hand-flapping, etc.)

Memory, Surreal

A Poem by April Salzano

Sometime in the middle of 2012
I go back to 1996 for a full 10
seconds. Standing in front
of the station—Kings Cross or Holborn?
we are saying something
about Fugue Syndrome. We do not
yet have 2 sons, we have not been
claimed by heartbreak and divorce
and therapeutic supports. We haven’t
even been to Paris or Edinburgh,
ridden English on Icelandic mares.
You haven’t dropped the atomic bomb
of your affair. You did not yet
rip me to shreds or suck me into
your bipolar vortex. We are just walking
and talking, and still so in love
with each other it hurts.