The poem we share today comes from Emma Kemp, social worker and poet from Coventry, UK.
During this global pandemic direct care staff who serve people with disabilities are being challenged to provide care in a new way. On top of the physical demands of precautions to prevent the spread of the virus there also seems to be an increased need for openness and connectedness with the people they’re serving.
We hear in this poem a craving for connection, a moment between two people, two souls. The author explains that although her faith may not be explicit in the poem, “there’s something about honouring people’s experiences and struggles which I think is profoundly spiritual.”
Sensory Processing Disorder As she looks at me, she chews her lip rhythmically. There is a subtle panic in her eyes: she is trying to read me, trying to understand what it is I could want from her, but she picks up nothing at all from my best encouraging face. Instead, I try to read her (it is my job) and my thoughts wander to what it must be like for her, with her autism, with her Sensory Processing Disorder. The sound from the road of drilling irritates me somewhat. I remember how she told me once that the noise at the bus stop was enough to cause her to bang her head hard against the shelter. Still she looks at me, and I have not the least idea what would calm her so that she stops the chewing, stops the banging. I break my gaze. So, too, the drilling stops, and for a moment, we have silence. She reaches for the familiar questions, her comfort blanket: how's Michael? how's the cats? I readily oblige, soothe her with certainty and forget all about the noise, and the banging at the bus stop.