The following poem is a response to Steve Shapin’s controversial New Yorker article Seeing the Spectrum, in which he wrote this damning, fallacious sentence about autistic people like myself: “It’s a searing experience to have a child who doesn’t talk, who doesn’t want to be touched, who self-harms, who demands a regularity and an order that parents can’t supply, whose eyes are not windows to their souls but black mirrors.”
Look into my eyes for one second, please.
What do you see?
Is it a wide open field of green grass,
And beautiful flowers at every turn?
Or do you see an agent of the devil,
Waiting to take an innocent person to burn?
Look into my eyes for one minute, please.
What color do they look like in reflected light?
Are they hazel–brown and green,
Like the great big oak tree?
Or do you see them as black,
As the vampire’s cape flowing free?
Since you won’t answer me,
And you have a maddening frown,
Because you think I’m not normal,
I’ll tell you here and now,
In a way that I see most formal,
My eyes are hazel, NOT black.
Hazel eyes are befitting of an angel,
Who is a kind soul to every living creature,
And beloved by all who meet and know her.
Black eyes solely belong to the devil,
A vile being who scorns the whole world,
And destroys lives in ways most evil.
I may be different, but my soul is rare and beautiful.
I have a heart that allows me to smile and cry,
And that’s how my friends and family see me as an equal.
You don’t see my kind as beautiful people,
So I believe you don’t have a soul worthy of heaven,
And your eyes are as black as a starless night.