There Was Music Playing
in the car the day I contemplated the possibility
of having Crohn’s disease, still loopy
from the anesthesia, still thrombosed
from the colonoscopy. No sound of cartoon
characters harmonizing silly songs had filled
that space for at least six months. Autism
governs noise level, and for half a year, it did not
want song, especially anything with lyrics.
Unpredictable and familiar had become equally
aversive, another oxymoron for no one
to understand. But that day, life had reopened,
violins of kindergarten melodies rode the current
of air and breathed life into my ears. I never thought
I would miss the Hokey Pokey in Spanish,
or the Chipmunks version of Bon Jovi
(or Bon Jovi at all), but I welcomed them back
as if I was living on a prayer. I thought maybe
the gnawing in my stomach had only been
because of the absence of sound and poor rhyme.
My car: the place to which I am confined
by barking badgering bickering bump
active work zone take your turn
use both lanes to merge
point are we almost there yet? Jesus
I hope so they know I can’t
jump out and driving
faster won’t outrun their voices reprogram
GPS shortcut turn up music
retreat inside my head too noisy
there too slow down both hands
10 and 2 o’clock I’m late I’m running
out of gas this is the longest
stretch of highway I have ever been on
We were two kites flying
in the mall, zigzagging through
mid-summer, halfway across the time
we would spend together.
We were all blonde
brownie goodness giggling
at passersby for no coherent reason.
On the way home we joked
through miles of southern drawl
and thick humidity, a random
trash can traversing our path
like a prank. I waved my cracked
thumb out the car window,
cried at the sting of future
hand washings and dry skin.
We laughed until there was nothing
left to laugh about.
April Salzano teaches college writing in Pennsylvania where she lives with her husband and two sons. She is currently working on a memoir on raising a child with autism and several collections of poetry. Her work has appeared in journals such as Convergence, Ascent Aspirations, The Camel Saloon, Centrifugal Eye, Deadsnakes, Visceral Uterus, Salome, Poetry Quarterly, Writing Tomorrow and Rattle. The author also serves as co-editor at Kind of a Hurricane Press (www.kindofahurricanepress.com) and was recently nominated for two Pushcart awards.