All his life, my son has woken
during the night. I’ve learned
to sleep light, listen

for a creak, thump. He has learned
to unlock the baby-gate
at the top of the stairs.

 Yesterday, he showed me
he knows how to unlock the front door:
sliding chain, bolt.

 I try to sleep. But cannot.
Coyote season. Dusk and dawn
they traipse across the lawn,

 packs hunting for small dogs.
A neighbor saw a small
bear rooting through the trash.

 Buy new locks? Research
online. Children with autism
wander. What have other

parents done? Nail windows
shut. Install alarms. “Put a
GPS band on his arm,” so

emergency crews can find
the body. One in forty-five
homes like mine.

Down the street. Round the block.
Paul Offit, former official
at the CDC, says autism is natural.

Keep sleeping light. Make sure
the lamps burn all night.
This is not natural.

Sherine Elise Gilmour graduated with an M.F.A. in Poetry from New York University. She was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her poems have appeared or are forthcoming from Green Mountains Review, Public Pool, River Styx, So To SpeakTinderbox, and other publications.


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