In my final act of giving birth, a renegade escaped through the ring of fire. I hooked his arms, and like a natural, he trapezed his way into the spotlight. You’d think a thing like that would not go unnoticed, but behind him, the backstage door to God’s circus closed. I thought nothing of it and took the escapee home. It rained and thundered every day thereafter for a month; the heavenly pachyderms in mourning for their lost clown. If you listened closely calliope music played each time the sleeping boy exhaled. When the rains dissipated they were replaced by mourning doves, and my tiny jester cooed secrets in Morse code or some gypsy dialect that I could not translate. “Say Mama!” I urged. The jester went silent and looked away. He missed his small cars, his popcorn and peanuts, and clown pals. The jester averted his eyes when he breastfed, thinking of his bearded lady. “Say Mama!” I urged. The jester remembered the big cats and the jugglers. He recalled the booming voice of God from the center of the ring. The jester sat all day, circling his hands and feet to tell us the answer to his riddles. “Say Mama!” I begged. Instead the jester played dot to dot with our eyes and stuffed himself into the cannon, waiting for his cue from God. “Say Mama!” I plead. The jester understood the value of a delayed response. He was a jester after all. He paced himself until the moment a plea becomes a prayer. “Please,” I breathed. From under the big top the ring leader nodded. Showtime! The blue light flooded the arena and the little jester found my eyes. “Iloveyou,” he said.
—For my sweet little jester, B—, on World Autism Awareness Day. I love you, too.