Autism in the Trenches


There is a foe, I cannot see
Wired with hair-trigger senses.
Conflict borne in infancy
     Camouflaged in normalcy
My heart is sore, my soul fatigued
Fighting Autism in the trenches.

My Janus child walks a line between his world and mine
I cannot cross his no-man’s land, the battle never ceases.
Nor can he find his way to me
Along a treacherous path 
Where every wrong step may carve him to pieces.

Some days, the screaming never seems to end.
Severed nerves send SOSes.
Signals get crossed, get lost in transmission
It might be joy, but why take chances?

The silence is worse.
Laying traps of false expectation.
A minefield of hope and regret
With a route that daily changes.

I have waged war against tics and compulsions
Aiming for inclusion.
Making I.E.Ps into I.E.D.s
Is not an error in transcription
But a battle plan with no excuses.

I am tired of this war.
I am raw.  I am defeated.
I have forgotten, 
Who am I really fighting for?
If the one I love is the one who is bleeding?
I cannot fight it any more.

In the Land of Normal, Autism is the enemy.
There are no victors and no survivors.
Unless I surrender completely to the pain of what is
and make peace with what will never be.

Instead of making war on his differences,
I will raise the white flag
And embrace those moments of calm.
For, if all I know is war, how can I ever come home?


The artwork entitled Autism in the Trenches which is based on the above poem is scheduled to go up for auction via Miedema Auctioneering, Inc.  at the conclusion of ArtPrize 2021 and the proceeds are to be donated to the local organization Autism Support of Kent County. Installation will take place September 11 at Veterans Memorial Park 22 Sheldon Ave, Grand Rapids, MI 49503.

Search for Lot 90-70454

For more details go to this link:

24 thoughts on “Autism in the Trenches

    1. Aww. Thank you. It’s not often I get shared. That is quite an honor. Seriously, I’m tearing up here. (Warning, menopause has turned into a giant sopping mess of emotions. But at least these are happy tears!)

      Liked by 1 person

    1. My son is seventeen. I keep having to remind myself he is becoming an adult, even if he still likes crayons and giggling. He also needs independence…and BOY, is it hard to give him that! We are a work in progress. I hope your son has found his happy place in the world. That is all I really want for my son!


    1. I’m glad the love shows through. It sometimes feels that I am more frustration and yelling than calm, supportive parent. (That might be on account of the peanut butter on the furniture, but still, it’s good to aim high in one’s expectations.) Thank you for reading this. I appreciate the heck out of people who do!


      1. That’s a good point. It helps to remember that just showing up is the first step in any challenge. Then, there’s the ‘doing better’ part. I’m always working on that!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Wonderful! I’m glad the art project is finished (and looks amazing)! The poem is so emotionally raw and also accessible – a look into parenting in difficult situations. The last stanza is powerful, so very powerful! (may I share this with my SIL who is fighting trench warfare for her son?)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Share. Print off and hand out to the masses. It’s all good.

      I hope your nephew is finding his own way to meet her in the middle. You know the kids are trying their best and it’s a thousand times harder for them. I have to remind myself of that when the shinola hits the fan at home. Invite her here. We can kibbitz together on our various woes!


    1. Thank you. It is hard to judge my own work. I know I like it. But will anyone else? Will others read the doubt and insecurity hidden behind every line? Guess at how many tries it took to get it even marginally close to what I wanted? I now look at art and writing with those thoughts in mind. Did they think what they did was finished when they put it out there? Or does every artist let go before they’re ready and hope the work can stand on its own?


    1. Not to pry, but does that mean you or your family has been diagnosed with Alzheimers? Because, as hard as Autism is sometimes, I have to be grateful for the routine and knowing mostly how my days will go. With Alzheimers, I think there are good days and bad days…but eventually…there are more of the latter than the former. (My grandmother had Parkinson’s and the medications to treat it eventually led to a similar condition of mental deterioration.) That is very sad news. I sincerely hope that medication can alleviate the effects for as long as possible and that your family can circle together to be strong for each other. Isn’t that what we all want in our time of need?


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