Dear Edward Hirsch,

I am terrified of your book, Gabriel. I read it, then buried
it on my back shelf, afraid of touching it.

Some sort of superstition.

I wish we had known each other
when your son was alive.

Not that we know each other now. Just a thought.

When my son’s evaluator said “possibly PDD-NOS,”
I wanted to scream at her, “No fucking way. Not that.”

Having just read your book, your son also diagnosed.

I keep thinking about your son, then stopping
and telling myself, “I should be thinking
about mine. He’s the one here now.”

Terrified. I had already pictured a possible, horrific future—
My son walking haggard night-wet streets stumbling,
parties, seizures, self-medicating, use and overuse,

neurotransmitters misfiring in the brain I created
in my womb for nine months.

It’s night, and I bend over my son’s crib
for thirty, forty minutes. He needs my hand on his back, pressure

to slow his moving limbs, his twitching.

The room is dark, more and more, the worst
things in the world come true. Like the death of your son.

The statistics about mine.

Is parenthood like this for you? Walking
down the hall to the bathroom to pee

a pin in your chest plate
like a taxidermied bird.

My skin hangs on me falsely.

I hum for forty minutes, sometimes
that works.

I am so sorry, Edward Hirsh. With love, S