Rules of Radiance

Accept that we’re on the same spectrum, some of us more radiant
than others. Accept the radiant boy, that he can’t
look you in the eye and it doesn’t mean he’s lying. Make room

for the small animals he brings in the house. Get used to spiders
sitting beside him or riding in his outstretched hand.
Help him shoo the wood mouse into a corner. Marvel at the way

it climbs on his slipper and stays there as he carefully walks outside.
Accept that all you will see of him some days is
10 cups in the sink with hardened halos of milk at the bottom.

Love him. Let him choose how to love you back. Don’t touch him.
And don’t touch the constellation of pockmarks
in the wall over his bed, words his father hurled at him before

he left. Know that some part of the radiant boy went dark, that
somewhere inside he wants to cry but can’t.
Visit him in his world—admire his armor, his fiery sword,

his virtual Tudor house above the virtual beach. Be awed by
his arsenal, his piles of gold. Don’t think about
the man he might have become. Love the radiant man he is.

Linda Malnack

Dust to Dust
Just Like That