Débora Ewing, My Real Face

I’m one of a growing number of adults who finds herself somewhere on the autism spectrum. The diagnosis did not exist in the 70s when I was evaluated several times and found to be other things – fanciful, precocious, talkative, disorganized. I tried therapy more than once, only to be sent home as normal, which I now take to mean functional, undiagnosable. The autism spectrum puts what others call my eccentricities into a context within which I can better manage society. There is no prescription. Knowing I was never wrong about myself has been the best medicine.

my real face

mania clears
and I sweep up the shards
dreams not ill-pursued
but stunted
life-cycles will be what they will

all those times I almost didn’t go
I hold them lovingly;
would have been easier

I make my own coffee again
look — I’ve been cut
this hematopoietic slow kiss reminds me
I am still real —
not a singularity —

and I rise to the call of crows


the world is full of bad math
the truth of me is
unequal to lessons
bound in prophetic pages
written the blood of my ancestors
all we decry as holy

a blister on the belly of a moth
holds more truth than this
you cannot hear me for
what I truly am


I don’t know how to use these words
they don’t work right
for you they take flight
eclipse rainbows
land nimbly in warm teacups
and fuzzy hugs

I stand wary
waiting for something to measure
with once upon a time

I need to pin demons
for analysis
not just say their names and
focus elsewhere
I need my monster’s inner works
to move on

once everything is neatly labeled
I’ll be content
pour us tea
cut sandwiches into stars
and share sweaters

processing overage

your words escape transmission
in the form of poisoned arrows
— not your intention, of course, not even
aimed in my direction —
sharpened flint heads
pierce the gray matter
synaesthesia leaking the colors of my coffee
rustic red ochre and earth-moss green
across my keyboard and
I can’t hear the letters
I’m to convey
this morning.


This is what I do

Shutter tight the world’s eyes
Strip down to what’s behind the mask
Turn the water free, hot like fire,
A memory of whence I came

This is what I do

Drop magic in the pool at my feet
Vetiver like the earth holds me down
Exotic acacia gathers far corners
With calm hands from another lost life

This is what I do

Inhale the burning mist
Press my wet face against the wall
Escape via space between cold metal
And demons washed down the drain

They can’t see me here.

Débora Ewing has published poetry and art in several online and hard-copy magazines, including Plainsongs by Hastings College Press, Sonder Midwest, and Alluvian Journal. Her short fiction, Coloring Outside the Lines and Full Moon New Year, can be found at Jerry Jazz Musician. http://www.debnation.com


For further information and support, please visit https://www.firstfortnight.ie/resources/find-help

2 thoughts on “Débora Ewing, My Real Face

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s