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Three poems about my son, who has autism

Meltdown in a shopping mall


The security guards

who circle my son

look at me for guidance.

Their authority has crumbled.


I’m in total control

of these four young men,

three in grey uniforms,

one in jeans, T-shirt and hoodie

thrashing on the polished floor




frightening the shoppers.


I want to tell them they’re in no danger:

I can easily get him to attack me.

He prefers to attack the people he loves.


My son wants two date scones

from Bakers Delight

and to eat them in the food court.

Daay sc-ON! Daay sc-ON! Daay sc-ON!

he chanted from the back of the car.


We’ve aborted our mission

on the lower-ground concourse

halfway between

Target and Golden Banana

where he’s been felled by

the fluorescent lights that beat down on him

the white noise that roars all around him

the shoppers and trolleys

that confuse and disorient him.


My son’s face has gone from purple to blue.

His squeals are now screams.

Shoppers are running.

The security guards look at me:

they’re starting to panic.


Back away from him, I tell them.

Clear the area,... Read more

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From Griffith Review Edition 62: All Being Equal – The Novella Project VI © Copyright Griffith University & the author.

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