Learning to Read



I do not remember learning to read or write
it seems to just have happened one day.

In faulty recollection of my memory
the learning is
settled somewhere
holding up picture books to a
captive audience of stuffed bears and Barbies,
filling in what I could not read with my own stories
of a princess and fortune,

and work shopping line breaks,
in some peer’s confessional poetry
about growing up and being touched inappropriately,
or the heartbreak of betrayal.
So when Olivia
tucks herself between my mother and I
during her annual Thanksgiving visit,
and reads her own version of a picture book
I think to myself how I secretly wish
she’d never learn how to read the real  words on the pages.

And how I know
one day she’ll be thinking
how she didn’t remember learning to read
but here she is
reading bloodshed,
heartbreak and the many ways
we hurt one another.

while her own stories are
long forgotten.


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