Autism: A Surrealist Still Life

If I could paint you a picture of autism it would not be neat and tidy, or digitally photoshopped into a vectorized, seamless pattern.

There would be gnarled tree trunks mangled by lightning strikes and re-established root systems twisted onto themselves from too many barren winters.

There would be entire forests annihilated by raging fires, and my throat choking in perpetuity from the smoke.

There would be tiny lizards scampering up brick walls, Arizona pink sunsets and sudden hail storms that turn into scathing summer days.

There would be lemonade stands and an ice cream truck’s dissonant melody echoing from inside of a bomb shelter of my own making.

There would be toilets clogged with PJ masks figures, the ball of hair my son ripped out of his head, and the lump in my throat.


There would be sheets missing from the book of time, and time itself would be nothing but a melting Dalian construct cooked up for exactly 1:55 in the microwave to avoid scalded or frozen chunks of amorphous, breaded meat byproduct.

There would be doors being unlatched from their safety locks and my will to live wandering from its home until it drowns in two feet of water. But being pulled back to reality by a blowout needing to be wiped off the walls.

There would be graffiti others scrub in repulsion that you realize is prophecy after it’s half erased.

There would be walls and walls of picture hanger hooks, like hanging gallows, stripped of life’s masterpieces and mundane, indiscriminately.


There would be a nonverbal little girl twirling her hair in a room where it is always 2 o'clock.

There would be life and beauty waiting in the gore of the commonplace, not yet born, coated in a layer of vernix.

There would be gifts born to us en caul beneath the onslaught of blood and massacre of fluids, not yet breathing, between this life and next, waiting for us to reach in and pull them out with our bare hands.

There would be tiny acts of sustenance growing from impossible situations or even strangers.


They would be like dandelions rearing their heads through the cracks in the concrete until they became mutilated by the sheer will to survive.


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