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Discovering The New Playground

Updated: Jan 14, 2022

We are rounding a turn

when my daughter asks,

“Will Alden talk when he turns one?”

“No honey.”


“He’ll still be just a baby.”

Eyes on the road. Easy. Dodged that one.

“Will Alden talk when he’s big like me?”

Red light, I brake

contemplating my catalog of unicorn-shaped answers,

half truths that dazzle.

“No.” I bleat,

prematurely rolling forward



Why indeed, my angel.

Why won’t the synapses of his brain form

the foundations of expressive language?

“His brain developed differently,”

I start in falsetto,

“so he will communicate differently.

He already communicates —

smiles and cries,


Trying on confidence,

green light.

Yet another echoing,


from the backseat.

My eyes prickle.

Double lines blur.

What went wrong inside me?

Is there something I could have done,

or should have not done?

Out of all the organs in precious being, why his brain?

Why bilateral? Why diffuse? Why no cure? Why him? Us? Me?

Aching in uncertainty, I sigh,

“I do not know. We may never know.”

A pause, stunned silence

or a mouthful of Goldfish.


My mind lost in myself,

I drive another loop around the deserted rotary,

exiting to find the new playground

and gasp.

Luke’s Love: A Playground for Children of ALL Abilities

Correctly capitalized.

Had someone known, with a few chiseled words,

a community would catch us?

Held by strength of others

who also know the disorienting strain

of these unanswered questions,

I blink and turn

to soak in her delight of twisting slides.

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