Two Poems by Shannon Frost Greenstein

I’m Not a F*cking Superhero Just for Raising My Autistic Son

I just don’t know how you do it, she says, marveling,
her eyes wide like prey to express
just how awe-struck she truly feels.
You’re a Superhero.

My son, stimming, cavorting happily around the room;
neurodiverse, a bright ray of sun, simply delightful,
and brilliant like a savant;
she sees his meltdowns
his struggle to use the bathroom
declares me to be the Ubermensch
and I resist the urge to roll my eyes.

There is consolation in her voice;
like she is sending up a holy prayer
of thanks
her own children do not have special needs.

It is really condescension, though,
because I am someone to be pitied; because I am someone
with something broken.

But hold up for a second there, Miss Becky Home-ecky.

My son is perfect precisely as he is; he is a joy to nurture and get to know.
There’s no need for heroism,
because loving him
requires nothing superhuman at all.

After all, it doesn’t take an Avenger
to be an Autism mom;
it just takes
a mom.

So save your pity
when you meet my child on the Autism spectrum
because we are both doing just fine.

And I am not a f*cking Superhero
just for raising my autistic son.
I raise my autistic son
because I am his f*cking mother,
and that is just
what mothers do.


I Blame George Balanchine

I blame George Balanchine
for decades upon decades
of the most vicious kinds of eating disorders;
for veneration of the waif
at the expense of growing old;
for the toxicity and abuse
that defines professional ballet
and the pervasive legacy of exclusion
that still persists to this day.

I blame Saint Augustine
for the devaluation of women
and the marriage of church and state;
for back-alley abortions
and unresearched stem cells;
for the stigma of sex
just for the sake of sex
and the pervasive legacy of judgement
that still persists to this day.

I blame Nancy Reagan
for propagating systemic racism
as the face of the War on Drugs;
for equating addiction
with weakness of character;
for commanding us all to Just Say No
as crack ravaged the Black community
and the pervasive legacy of an epidemic
that still persists to this day.

I blame Donald Trump
for his epidemiological illiteracy
and killing one million Americans;
for misogyny and bigotry and prejudice and hate
because he is just the worst kind of person;
for humiliating our nation
on a geopolitical scale
and the pervasive legacy of intolerance
that still persists to this day.

I blame them all for the damage they’ve caused
and for reinforcing the otherhood of people like me
and if you agree with anything they have to say
then, you prick, I fucking blame you, too.


Shannon Frost Greenstein (she/her) resides in Philadelphia with her children and soulmate. She is the author of “These Are a Few of My Least Favorite Things”, a full-length book of poetry available from Really Serious Literature, and “Pray for Us Sinners,” a short story collection with Alien Buddha Press. Shannon is a former Ph.D. candidate in Continental Philosophy and a multi-time Pushcart Prize nominee. Her work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Pithead Chapel, Litro Mag, Bending Genres, Parentheses Journal, and elsewhere. Follow Shannon at or on Twitter at @ShannonFrostGre.

One thought on “Two Poems by Shannon Frost Greenstein

  1. Absolutely fantastic! Both these poems are terrific. The first one I relate to in a subtle way -– I raised a daughter with Type 1 and heard so often, “I could never give my child a shot.” They would if they knew she would die without them, I always thought.
    The second one I feel as though you wrote this just for me, about an old “friend” who wonders why we can’t still be friends. Thank you for both of these!!

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