Annelise: a poem

“300 dpi Doug Stevens illustration of autistic girl sitting alone while her peers play; can also be used with stories about lonely children. Los Angeles Times/MCT 2011

Doug Stevens Los Angeles Times/MCT

Copy Editor
She is a girl of glass.
There is no color in her tree-branch veins;
her blood runs careful rivulets under
rice-paper skin
and china bones.
She sees you looking and
rolls down her sleeves.
She blushes the faintest carnation.
Her hair is long, translucent, flickering
blonde five shades from moonlight,
eyes wide and cloudy, enigmatic—
rain-puddle irises washed-out blue
ink-drop pupils darting past faces
lashes thin; wretchedly beautiful.
She is her own Persephone
held captive by grayness,
the bite of metal against her
once-creamy skin.
From her wrists
she draws paling blood, her mouth
hanging open trap-door in a feverish daze,
savoring the precious droplet of satisfaction that
melts on the tip of her tongue until –
nothing. (Does she still expect a climax?)
It controls her, convinces her,
slurps up color in reckless mouthfuls
thins her haphazardly out into a half-conscious
half-empty half-upright all-fragile girl
who once stood
so strong
Her ghostlike lips part dryly
but she does not speak.