for Austin, the autistic boy who came to my school for a term. No one understood him. I have not heard of him since.
this caged bird sings, in a sonorous voice
a long note, repeated over and over.
i have been listening, i have been thinking:
this caged bird is a boy, who longed for life,
for love, for normality. teachers said he was arrogant,
that he could well hear you speak, but he won't reply you,
no matter what. austin was often beaten, he was not allowed
to cry in public, for that would mean he could make sound
so austin wept at the corner of the classroom, at night.
this caged bird is a boy, who longed to get away
from the shackles of academic disability, so austin read voraciously,
yet his grades spoke of other things that needed to be done,
things austin couldn't do alone.
yet no one helped, rather he was mocked as the bookworm,
who couldn't bore holes through more than two leaves.
i couldn't help, i was naive. i tried initiating conversations
and got tired that austin made mono syllabic replies,
got fed up at the jests of my friends.
austin was taught like other children,
yet he was not treated as other children
so this caged bird sings, in a sonorous voice a long note, repeated over and over.
i have been listening, i have been thinking, i
have started singing this song in my own toad's croak
and tears, tears for the help that won't meet the helpless
keep crawling down my face.