Kevin

There is soft music rolling
in Kevin's head,
red-capped monkey songs &
round Bessie cow bells.
Carousels
with gentle
tinsel-fringed horses
jingle him in sunbright
circles around the room.
Sometimes the music
grows too loud—
when the children try to talk to him,
he cannot turn it down.
Their words are just a flash of
brightly falling silver,
and yet he understands the
roundness of their lips,
curved slices of apple
they are always giving him.

In the afternoon
when the children are still at school,
Kevin feeds his jingling horses
with small-fisted hands
bits of
sweet red
apple that he's tasted,
& the horses love Kevin
so much then,
they take him on
faster dancing
circles around the room.

Marie Steinacker worked with the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program in Milwaukee and was studying early childhood development when this poem appeared. She wrote this poem for a friend with Down's Syndrome who died during heart surgery at the age of 4.

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