She Has a Name

<i>She Has a Name</i> Gotham teacher Kamilah Aisha Moon recently saw the release of her poetry collection She Has a Name. The poems are all related to a young woman with autism; we hear from the woman, along with people who know her well. The book has an interesting trailer, and a reviewer for the Los Angeles Review of Books calls it “one of the most moving poetry books I’ve encountered in a while.”

We now share a poem from the book:

“Borderless Country”

1 in 150 now, this glitch
in babies poised to unlock the world
These daughters and sons of poets,
store clerks, salesmen, singers,
CEOs, janitors, actors cast
into this permanent script
Souls we love turned
like the faces of flowers thrust
toward a rogue sun

We are the earth we walk; what seeps
here? Is the air fighting back?
Is the water slowing baskets down,
sending them back upstream? Are we changing?
Dear God, are they here
to tell us, in a way we cannot ignore,
that we aren't changing
fast enough?

Autism, the one-drop rule for minds
we strain to understand, the catch-all
phrase that drops kids off
at nowhere,
at you don't exist once you turn 18,
at native tongue of one,
at white-knuckled translation cobbled
through touch across time,
at marquee symptoms
while causes lurk,
at beauty that demands
seas of patience

What about that drug I took once? Vaccines?
Some karmic boomerang I don't remember
throwing, its stealth return
1 in 150 apples of somebody's eye
1 in 150 'my baby'
1 in 150 now, a new child
breathes, private riddles
of our loving strapped
on many backs


Reprinted by permission of Four Way Books.

You can learn more about Kamilah and her book here.