The Alice Case

‘The problem with Alice’, the Caterpillar says,
‘is her rigidity of thought’.

‘Yes’, says Humpty Dumpty
‘and her lack of empathy.’

‘Indeed’, says the Caterpillar,
‘Her mind-blindness.’

‘Yes’, says Humpty Dumpty,
‘Her inability to read faces.’

‘Indeed’, says the Caterpillar,
‘Or tone of voice.’

‘And then’, says Humpty Dumpty,
‘there’s the flatness of her affect.’

‘Alongside’, says the Caterpillar,
‘the strangeness of her prosody.’

‘As well as’, says Humpty Dumpty,
‘her adherence to routine.’

‘Not forgetting’, says the Caterpillar,
‘her repetitive behaviours’.

‘Or her failure,’ says Humpty Dumpty
‘to understand a joke.’

‘Or her lack’, says the Caterpillar,
‘of any feel for metaphor.’

‘Or her inability,’ says Humpty Dumpty
‘to hold a proper conversation…’

‘Excuse me’ says Alice
‘may I say something?’

‘Of course’, says the Caterpillar
‘you may say something.’

‘Yes,’ says Humpty Dumpty,
‘and we’ll tell you why it’s wrong.’

© Joanne Limburg

From The Autistic Alice (Bloodaxe Books)