We Count to Three
By Kim Farrar
My daughter has been crowing like a rooster
for thirteen years, and then asking, What does a rooster say?
Some days her charms are irresistible
And I cock-a-doodle-do in response, like a mate
lost in a cornfield. This is wrong
according to Overcoming Autism.
I should redirect the conversation
to something in front of us,
make her touch the carpet and say soft.
When she was born, her father
held her up and her mouth made a perfect
O, as if we had some nerve
plucking her from that dark warmth
into fluorescent light. She scored
well on the Apgar, and without knowing
I rejoiced in her future
all she would learn, every cloud
I could show her, who she might become.
In the park there was a stone frog
that spouted a great arc of water,
but rather than flit and dart
with the other little girls who giggled
in their ruffled bottoms, she’d squat
by the drain and listen
to the dripping echo in the deep
metallic well. Today she’s a good swimmer
and at the public pool she blends
until an honest boy asks, What’s wrong with her?
I explain as best I can then he disappears
among the swarms of screaming children.
We count to three and go under.
Kim Farrar is a poet and essayist living in Astoria, New York. Her poetry has been published most recently in Alaska Quarterly Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, and Rhino. Her chapbook “The Familiar” was published by Finishing Line Press in 2011.
Photo by Scott Boruchov