‘You can’t be autistic’ a poem by Kit Foxworth

You can’t be autistic, that’s what they will say
When you finally find the courage to speak up one day

You can’t be autistic, because you’re a “girl”
As though boys are the only ones who belong to that world

You can’t be autistic, because my neighbour’s nephew’s friend is
And you’re nothing like him, after all, he’s a kid

You can’t be autistic, do you even like trains?
And don’t autistic people have mathematical brains?

But you see, I’m autistic, just under a mask
I didn’t know I was wearing it, you didn’t think to ask

I’ve learnt your behaviours, to accommodate you
Don’t you know all the strange little things that you do?

You insist upon change: “be more flexible please”
And you walk through a sensory minefield with ease

The way you express joy, quite reserved, might I say
In fact, what makes you zestful as you get through each day?

The secret language you use, can’t you say what you mean?
Those microexpressions give me nothing to glean

You see, I must be autistic, it was obvious to me
There’s so many differences to the way I just be

We’re not all savants, and certainly not all boys
And we probably didn’t all line up all our toys

As children, we maybe were lucky to learn how
To copy your ways, and survive up to now

But the cracks may appear, when life gets too real
And we don’t always know how to process what we feel

The world’s somehow louder, everyone is too near
And we wish that perhaps we could just disappear

There’s the amazing stuff too, like the things that we know
Perhaps a favourite author, historical period, TV show

“Autistic” isn’t just one way to be
But it’s something I know is a big part of me

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