Last month, I wanted to write a poem
about Kavya learning to read;
we were so struck, how one day
suddenly it happened.
We would come to put the children
to bed, and find her reading
slowly, sounding out the words,
a bedtime book to her younger brother.
She would come home from school
get her own snack
and sit on the couch to read –
about Barbies, or princesses, or
Fancy Nancy, admittedly –
but we could forgive all that
because she was reading!
Visions of splendor opened up
before me – Tolkien and Asimov,
Christie and Sayers, my own childhood
recreated, blissful days in dim libraries.
And now, it is a month later,
and I have finally gotten around to writing
this poem, and all the urgency
is gone. I must press to remember
the astonishment – the moment in her bed
when I turned to Kevin and said,
“She’s really reading!” and he said yes, smiling.
That was a month ago, and Kavya is on
to new accomplishments;
I take her books for granted.
This is childhood, and parenting: a string
of small, forgotten miracles.