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Tony Gloeggler: Autistic Joy

I love telling friends about the times I forget 

to lock the closets that help keep Jesse safe 

so he can live in this apartment on his own

and I catch him pouring a bottle of dishwasher 

detergent into the sink or shredding a pack 

of multi colored post-its as he sits at the kitchen 

counter, flips them into the air like confetti. 

He freezes, tries not to look at me and places 

his hand over his mouth as this boundless 

sound spills out, his eyes bubbly blue champagne, 

while his body shakes and shivers in happiness. 

His mom calls it the best laugh and it’s one 

of the few things we still agree on. I try to look 

stern as I count seconds until his laughter slows 

down and I move closer, poke his soft ticklish 

spots to stretch this moment. I tell myself

next visit I’ll buy the biggest bottle of soda,

place it on the table where he can find it 

as I shut the bathroom door behind me. 

.

November, and the ground is feathered white, 

the wind swirls a light sprinkling. We’ll start 

our weekend with a City Bus trip to Starbucks.

He looks at his lap top, tells me the exact time

and I say let’s get dressed . He says, no socks

I say, yes socks. He says short sleeves. I say,

long sleevesit’s freezing out there. He says, 

light jacket. I say, heavy coat. Red jacket

Green coat.  Back and forth, four more times 

until I say hurry we’ll miss the bus. He streaks 

to his room while I grab my coat, tug my hat 

over my ears and toss him the keys to lock 

the door as I try to zip my coat. Halfway down 

the hall, he starts cracking up, falling over 

himself, laughing. I look at him. He’s wearing 

the green coat and zipping the red jacket 

over it. I’m laughing hard, reaching for a hug. 

Jesse pulls his head back, stares into my eyes 

to make sure I know he did this all for me.


Copyright 2022 Tony Gloeggler. First published in West Texas Review.

Tony Gloeggler, a life-long resident of New York City, has managed group homes for the mentally challenged for over 35 years. His poetry collections include What Kind Of Man (NYQ Books, 2020).

Tony Gloeggler

8 comments on “Tony Gloeggler: Autistic Joy

  1. abby
    April 8, 2022

    punch to the gut, but a joyous one

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vox Populi
      April 8, 2022

      Yes, Tony Gloeggler is a hero, one of the many Americans who are doing the thankless work of caring for others.

      M. Michael Simms https://www.michaelsimms.info

      Author of Nightjar Author of American Ash  Founder of Autumn House Press Editor of Vox Populi

      >

      Liked by 1 person

    • Vox Populi
      April 9, 2022

      wow, a joyous punch to the gut. You have a gift for metaphor, Abby.

      Like

  2. allisonfine
    April 7, 2022

    Thank you. Touching and beautiful.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Rose Mary Boehm
    April 7, 2022

    Just wonderful.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Barbara Huntington
    April 7, 2022

    I love this. I have a grandson with Williams Syndrome snd he is so fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. loranneke
    April 7, 2022

    I love this poem– so full of laughter and heart!

    Liked by 2 people

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This entry was posted on April 7, 2022 by in Health and Nutrition, Poetry and tagged , , , .

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