The Devil’s Miracles

A teacher called me Helen Keller,

said she wanted to be my Annie Sullivan

and I wondered if it

was a compliment.

I think she meant she wanted to tame me.

(The Miracle Workerโ€™s Breakfast Scene:

Annie straddles Helen as Helen shreds the air.)

She wanted to tame me,

evidenced by her voice slapping off walls

and pouring gravel into my brain,

her hands clapping in my face faster than an umbrella folding

when my eyes tried to swerve away from hers.

She wanted me to see:

I was a tapestry of bad cloth

to be unraveled piece by piece.

Luckily, she was no Annie Sullivan

and I closed my eyes:

see no evil.

This was written for the We Write Poems prompt Miracles. The word made me think immediately of the movie The Miracle Worker. I suppose the miracle in the poem is that I got out of that teacher’s class…


18 thoughts on “The Devil’s Miracles

  1. Beautiful and strong. Both the poem and your heart. A person who obviously knows herself as fully as the speaker in this poem, and as wise as to read the teacher’s intentions, even down to the subtle midtones, will not be bent by her or anyone. You see things differently. With more force and between the lines. That’s a great part of character to have. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. God, the horrible things teachers get away with, and this is one of the cruelest. Was there a diagnosis available for you? My daughter has Asperger’s but she was so high-functioning it wasn’t caught until several misdiagnoses and she was in her 20s.

    Autism is so misunderstood. A friend’s son recently got the diagnosis, and he’s very distracted. Everyone at church tries to get him to look at him, but when I see him staring up, I sit on the floor, try to figure out what caught his eye… like a pane of stained glass… and say, “Wow, Henry, that’s beautiful.” Sometimes he nods!

    Thank you for sharing a story that pulled out all the stops. I’m bipolar and a sexual abuse survivor and write about it openly. I say, “No shame, no blame.” But I reserve some blame for that teacher. Her karma is SO screwed.

    Thanks for commenting at my site. You are a wonderful writer! Amy Barlow Liberatore

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