April Salzano teaches college writing in Pennsylvania where she lives with her husband and two sons. Among other projects, she is writing a memoir on raising a child with autism. Her work on the subject most recently appeared in Rattle.
I am not getting out on my roof,
though its 299 degree asphalt shingles
tempt my bare feet. Gables for handholds,
I could easily pretend I am window
on the steep incline, if I am caught filming
or photographing. Instead I remain crouched
on carpet, ear to the crack of light
under the closed bedroom door behind which
my son is supposed to be working
with his new therapist, #57 in 6 years.
I am fairly certain she is napping at his desk.
Worse things could be done to him,
to her if I find out her act is as fake
as her shade of blonde.
I listen to the silence as if my life
depends on hearing nothing, as if
I am hanging from a rooftop. Wheels
of a toy car scrape in recognizable repetition,
back and forth over a surface I can visualize
like I am in the room with him.
A timer beeps, marking what he has
been conditioned to respond to. Nothing.
Frantic fingers reset the timer, 5 beeps.
Repeat process every 5 minutes for 30.
Wheels keep sliding over wood.
He calls for me. She says nothing.
go the wheels without direction.
The car goes forward.
The car comes back
in reverse. It does not deviate from course.
No pretend people ask where they are going.
No imitation of horns, no destination.