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This poem is taken from PN Review 224, Volume 41 Number 6, July - August 2015.

A Poem and a Sequence Carol Rumens
On the Spectrum

There is a child who isn’t sure
What others feel, or if they feel,
But that they feel is his good guess.
He mostly gets the joke. The kiss
He hates, he suffers. Sadly, he’ll
Call the snail he’s broken ‘poor’
And scrub his sneaker in the grass.
One day, engraver, engineer,
He’ll be a woman’s loneliness,
But learn to surface kindly near,
And touch her kindly, more or less.

And there’s a child, not unlike him,
Whose gaze at nothing rarely swerves.
No voice extracts a glimmer from
The lumped-up solder in his nerves.
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