She Learns to Read


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.