First Grade


My first school experience.
Color the apple red.
Important. Neat. Concrete.
Reading Group
Watch friends like a hawk.
Make sure to open to the same page.
Heart pounding concentration.
Carefully now,
See Dick run. Run, run Dick.
See Jane run. Run, run Jane.
“No Dear, we are here at the bottom of the page.”
I stare hard at the words blinking back tears.
(I can’t read it; I have lost my place.)
My mother finishes the story.
She has only seen my father cry twice,
once when his mother died and when he was told I could not read.
I don’t remember that he taught me B was “buh.”