TRISOMY 21

by Ryan Allen

We all have the same purpose though not the same start,

the Down Syndrome Creed says,

and I believe it

because now I can see that every choice I ever made

has brought me to you and even though our paths are crooked

we’ve come to find each other

out in this wide open sky,

so every day I re-climb the hill and hug

this boulder, cheek kissing cheek, trampling flowers, domesticating

an already tame prairie, and though the world tells me

it’s heavy

my shoulders feel light

and I can feel

that Earth is a living cell and life is moving, it’s adapting,

and that 47 chromosomes

are somewhere in that design,

and in Pythagoras’s cave an old man whispers the essence of life is pattern

so I turn my light to chromosomes painted next to bison on those walls

and I find us as we were in the beginning,

when our trilobite eye started having insight too,

but then these eyes

spin back to stars, to our ancestors and origins, and then

back to myself,

our kids and our future.

And I see it now—

that my compassion comes from fish, from the mother

who chose to protect, not eat me,

and that what makes rocks

and water and reality television and Kim Kardashian’s ass

makes me

and what makes us human

is in my children,

so we put things on our tongues

and touch everything with our hands

and mouth words and find symbols

to create a language to make sense of the universe within

that knows how for billions of years a rock

was just a rock,

and then in the blink of an eye,

a human painted a chromosome on a cave wall,

so the line straightens and Liam tells me, I need a tissue

to blow these tears off, which I translate to mean

that there’s nothing to be sad about so why do we call it Downs

when my daughter

does nothing but smile

and why do we say she has a Syndrome

when it’s us with the problem

and why can’t we allow this little girl

to determine what her life will be?

So I follow her lead

to take nothing, give all,

to be brave,

and to get ready:

it’s time to be new.

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