A Reporter’s Poem on the Occasion of an Autistic Girl’s Death in Toronto by Michael Maul

For two days a thousand people searched,
Authorities, families, the hordes who hoped to find a girl
Only half frozen by the winter,
With maybe toes and fingers lost but
Essential things enough remaining to be barely
Coaxed to life.
But you, you would not be found,
And we began returning
Finally, each with no autistic girl to warm.

I went and waited in the morgue
For the family to come identify the body.

“Is this the right frozen girl?
Have we been talking about the same one
all this time?”

Watching you on that table of hard endings
I hoped you might seize this moment to thaw out utterly,
Rise up from this ordeal no longer numb,
But full of words, gushing ideas and over-due scoldings.

But the facts are you chose a different end
And threaded through a thousand men;

To reach darkness at the tunnel’s end,
You threaded through a thousand men.


Michael Maul is a writer whose work has appeared in various literary publications, most recently in The Montucky Review (August, 2013) and Big River Poetry Review (September, 2013). He is also a past winner of Cincinnati’s Mercantile Library Prize for Fiction.

He is currently living in Cincinnati, Ohio.