Joints scream from the fire burning within

Deep aches that echo through my being

 

Limbs lay heavy at heavy at my sides

Dead weight to be dragged along

The weakness setting in like a stone sinking

Into the murky waters that cloud and distort

 

The fire rages through internal organs

My trunk, my core, my being

Alight in the glow of the forest fire within

Destroying all within reach

All peace. All hope. All dreams of a better day.

 

My joints, my limbs, my core

Scream and howl through the flames

I’m unable to look away

The screams keep drawing me back

 

Yet, to you, I am fine

 

My skin shows not the heat of flames

My crippled body appears to you like any other

 

I fall quiet.

 

I fail to speak, entranced by the flames

I sit stiff and still, held in place by the unending screams

My face is blank, hiding the maelstrom within

 

But this is my body screaming in pain

This is my natural language

 

My autistic tongue struggles to make words you understand

It trips and sticks on the words racing through my mind

My normally eloquent words abandon me

Stuttering syllables are pushed through my lips

Single words. Simple words. Nothing words.

 

You hear these nothing words and think that everything is ok

You hear my blank tone, see my blank face, observe my stiff body

To you, I am fine

 

Pain steals from me those long-developed skills

Pain rips away my fancy words and forced expressions

Pain leaves my body still except the fluttering of hands

The fluttering of hands that tell the tale of my pain

(will you listen?)

A fire rages through me

Eating away at all it touches

My words, my movements

My peace, my hope

 

My joints scream through the flames

Guttural snarls rip out from my core

The flames always fanning the cacophony

 

Yet, you won’t see, chose not to see

That communication varies

That pain doesn’t always look the same

That I am different

 

You see a face like any other

You see a patient sitting before you

You see my still form, hear my quiet voice

You hear the nothing words that eek out

And you think that you understand

 

But there’s one thing, one very important thing

Something it is vital that you understand

I am autistic

My words are different

My expressions are different

I am different

 

My pain is loud, so I fall quiet