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July 2018, vol 14 no 2

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Claire Everett

Twenty-nine Summers

He put the ant in pedantic. His sixth summer he made a farm of the downstairs bathroom, taking a magnifying glass to their comings and goings. Having encouraged them with covert Hansel and Gretel trails of biscuit crumbs, he wouldn't countenance any form of pest control, not even coffee grains or talcum powder. I had birthed our very own Jain.

Then there was the Lego. Our early morning path to the kitchen was akin to a trial-by-walking-on-hot-coals, niggly bits of plastic spiking our insteps or bejewelling the spaces between our toes. Our daylight hours were filled with the construction of miniature dwellings on an epic scale. Brick upon brick, Sunday was our young master's personal Great Wall, a task in which he played no part thanks to the obedience of his minions. If a quiet life was not for us, it could at least be quieter. We learned to tread carefully.

As he grew so did the projects . . . and the meltdowns. Had we been given instructions for either, no doubt they would have read like a map to a beautiful lost world, in some archaic runic script indecipherable to any living being.

every shade of sea glass
as long as it's green
no small wonder
when finally I discover
my son has autism


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