My memories of you are now reduced to a single night spent curled up on a recliner while you read me the bible before bed. I remember how we knelt—shoulders touching, heads bowed into the void of our palms. Part of me thought you worried I would rot in hell. Not because I do drugs or have sex, but because I am different. I still find irony in knowing you loved me. Sometimes, I make up scenarios you encountered in the afterlife—discovering heaven wasn’t what you thought or dismissing Christianity before God. Or Maybe you were right about everything. I hope you explained to Him why I belong there too. I still don’t have friends. At night, I would hide behind school & watch the boys who bully me smoke weed & talk about how their Fathers beat them. What I would give to hug another one of God’s children & feel another body against my own. Do you remember the girl who lives next door? One morning, we talked at the bus stop & couldn’t stop smiling at each other. She confessed she is also Autistic. I know you said I’m not supposed to have sex before marriage, but I want to. How can sin be so tempting? I am still looking for acceptance. Yesterday, those boys caught me watching them & they chased me, calling out retarded boy retarded boy over and over again. I cried out for God. He didn’t answer. I almost let them kill me just to hold you again. And I’m sorry, Momma, but I can no longer believe in God. How could I? Four of His children were about to slit my throat.
Matthew Feinstein is a neurodivergent poet from Tracy, California. He is pursuing an MFA at Randolph College, starting in Winter 2020. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Heavy Feather Review, Drunk Monkeys, Rejection Letters, and elsewhere. He is the founding editor of Plum Recruit and has just bought a rug for the first time in his adult life. You can follow him on Twitter @MatthewFeinste5 https://www.matthewfeinsteinwriter.com/