There is a curved line where my
thumb arises from my palm
I am a work of art
Gabriel sinks deep into the chlorinated water, into the womb. He grazes the pool floor like some sort of terrifying, deep-ocean fish. His hair is stretched and filled with particles of water. He opens his eyes.
This is the boy who cries when denied a popsicle. The boy who has three different therapists. The boy whose brain is clouded over by autism, becoming a creature of the sea. In these scraps of water, he awakens.
I am a forest
rooted firmly in the sand
while the ocean beats and writhes about me
A rock someone could cling to
People tell Gabriel not to pull out grass. He tugs on his hair to feel the same sensation. Soon the house is littered with hairs, thin as silk. They crawl across the linoleum and hide under the dining table.
He screams at supper when his peas spill off the plate. They are cleaned up quickly and soundlessly by his father. The lines of faces crease.
Skin folds over folds of skin
The covering I have been shielding
my self with
The barber’s scissors approach Gabriel; he squirms. The leather seat creaks and slides. In the mirror he watches himself move through space, a new person. He begins to cry. It is silent, so unlike him. Green eyes have been removed from their hiding place behind his curtain of hair. Now they sit, unveiled, in their sockets and expel tears.
The barber is confused. His jubilant expression slides off his face and puddles on the floor, along with the tufts of Gabriel’s hair.
Knowing that this creation is mine: a human
sprung from my robot body
I try my best to program him
Age 14, Grade 10
Fiorello H. Laguardia High School of Music