2023 Winner


Staring at the bridge of my mother’s nose

I could’ve sworn her eyes were

Green like the cold spring pond she married into

But the eyes staring back at me are brown

Eyes pinching the skin on my skull like my brother when he got

Tired of my tendency to turn to violence

when things didn’t go my way

Because there are rules and order and routines

And I am scared of change

My mother says I am “quirky”

Because that is the word she uses when she does not want to admit

Her child is autistic

And it is genetic

My mother

With eyes brown like the wood of a cross

used to teach her, to teach me that

Deviation from the norm is a sin

I’m sorry that I act wrong

Because though I try to love you

You cannot see me

And I don’t know if your mind is like mine or if I got it from dad but

Mom you said you would love me if I was quirky

So why not if I am autistic

Why is it taboo that my brain works different

I’m sorry it’s too much to look into your iris

I could’ve sworn your eyes were green

Because I cannot love a mother with brown


Staring at the bridge of my nose

Wondering how mine turned out blue


Noa Fawcett

Sheridan School

Grade: 8


Washington, DC


Washington, DC

Favorite Author or Book:

Neil Gaiman

Dream for the Future:

My dream is to become a child psychologist so I can help autistic kids like me feel safe and loved while in a world that was not made for them.

Inspirational Figure:

My 5th grade teacher Amy Wertheimer