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Cassandra Vale May 2018
the rain looks a certain way today
in what way,
I couldn't say

but I can tell you about the sweet,
light and cool, coconut water that sat so gently on my tongue.

I could tell you about the squidge,
that sound of the liquid inside dumplings
as it flings out in a single burst.

Or the veil of heavy heat
that drapes itself on my back
lounging, and resting languidly.
Cassandra Vale Jan 2018
I have been invisible before.
My thoughts and justifications were transparent.
All anyone could see were my actions;
the way I failed and stumbled,
and ran head first into doors that lead me down path after path of distraction.
At least they seemed like distractions,  
oh, but they become my destruction. 


I spent my time quietly imploding,
only to change my mind last minute,
and suddenly explode.
I changed my mind,
but my body stayed stock still.
I stood in front of the judges
and while my tongue was granite,
the urge to run from the podium had never been greater.

I wished to be invisible.
I wished to go to a dark corner of the room and finish my implosion.
Out of sight,
where I could hide and self destruct without a sound.

And then if,
or when,
I picked up the shrapnel,
I could re-join everyone on stage at graduation.

I could hold my head high
and with a smile,
pretend no one saw me crumble.
Cassandra Vale Oct 2017
I pick up details.
all the details.
or as many details as possible
in the available time frame

but I can’t make connections between things.
A does not connect to B for me.
I can't zoom out and drag and drop a
line of relation from A to B.

instead I have to drag it myself.
Over kilometers of terrain and time and effort.
Most people use a cart.
But not me.
No, I don’t have a cart.
Every attempt bites away more time and effort
in getting the relationship of A to B.
It’s hard and exhausting
and I don’t have many shortcuts for this.
It’s hills and mountains for me.

Sometimes I can zoom out.
But’s it not an easy in-between zoom, like on google maps where you can see where you are on a street.
Or even which neighborhood you’re in.
If the details are the trees and the big picture is forest then,
I go from crunching on pine needles,
to a view above the clouds.

But it’s not a satellite image.
I can’t see the tall green things clustered together
that would make me think “forest”.
I just see a solid, light green polygon. It’s green so I know
it’s something to do with nature.
But I don’t know for sure.
It could be grass.
It could be a jungle, which is really close to a forest, but not quite,
and I don’t know the exact criteria
distinguishing one from the other.
No details for me here.

I know the basic shape and what it might be,
but I’m not sure of the specifics that make up this green place.
It’s to do with nature.
That’s all I got,
so that’s what I go on.
Turns out explaining a complicated developmental disorder is easier with poetry than with paragraphs. Who knew?
Cassandra Vale Oct 2017
What I learned in school,
is what being damaged to does to you.
It teaches you struggle is a bad word
and that success is effortless
if you’re not perfect right away
you’re not right
at all
your words only have value
according to the rubric
your cries of pain are only noteworthy
when the wound blisters scarlet red
and sticks and stones are as harmless
as the air used to launch them,
never mind that they broke your spirit well before your bones
they’re just kids.

I was a kid too.
Yet you locked me behind
an iron desk for first an hour, then two,
because despite how desperately I pleaded,
you assumed that because you cared,
that meant you couldn’t hurt me.
I have no scars on my skin to
show you,
unless you count the words I never wrote
because thinking about this made me choke.

And writing about it made it real.

You don’t get a scar
when your body is convinced it can no longer draw breath,
and you learn to count to four and hold for four
before you ever open up a trig book
to page four.
I have scars because I am here to be healed,
I am here, still.

Trees that fall in forests don't scar,
but the grove where they once stood misses them.

This is how I rode my bike every day after school,
I rode it back home safely as I could.

Because I learned to shoulder my weight in gold
and understand on my own terms
that my gold standard
is the only one worth anything to me.

— The End —