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Patricia Ljutic

A flywheel 
launched from a brain
that cannot remember 
three consecutive words--
two words, maybe:

"Stop kicking..."

The third word catapults with
the what and the where,
changing channels
with every new activity,
leaving my son aimless,
scattering stones, 
snapping twigs,
belching at turned heads, 
spinning.

"S-T-O-P!"

What does stop mean with his 
thoughts ajar?
ADHD: attention 
without a footpath, 
a train without a brake.
Ignoring directions,
my son's frontal lobe sputters
--winds and unwinds-- 
toggling like a switch 
that switches...that switches...that switches,
careens him into space.

Spinning.


About the poet: 

Patricia Ljutic, a registered nurse, is director of the Home Health and Hospice Quality program at Vallejo Kaiser Permanente Foundation Hospital, in California. Her poetry and essays have appeared in regional and national publications including Cup of Comfort and Chicken Soup for the Soul. She has won awards for her fiction and nonfiction from Writer's Digest and Writer Advice.com, respectively. Patricia loves Italian country cooking, amber jewelry, writing, bugging her son to pick up his clothes and food containers, teaching him to live with ADHD and reminding him never to give up.

About the poem: 

"This poem grew out of a moment of frustration with and compassion for my son, who has ADHD. One day, during a visit to my friend's home, my son was skipping stones across her pond; then he suddenly switched his attention to her well-groomed peach trees. He rushed the trees, tore off several branches and vigorously beat the air with these makeshift wooden whips. I had seen his stimulus-seeking behavior and lack of impulse control--typical of ADHD--derail him before. Now, I watched him lose focus and, still gripping the broken branches in both hands, begin to spin in circles. As my attempts to redirect his attention or get him to stop failed, I mentally pictured his brain short-circuiting and knew I had to write a poem."

Poetry editors:

Judy Schaefer and Johanna Shapiro