Learning to Read
If I had to look up every fifth or sixth word
so what. I looked them up.
I had nowhere important to be.
My father was unavailable, and my mother
looked like she was about to break,
and not into blossom, each time I spoke.
My favorite was The Iliad. True,
I had trouble pronouncing the names;
but when was I going to pronounce them, and
My stepfather maybe?
Number one, he could barely speak English –
two, he had sufficient cause
to smirk or attack
without prompting from me.
Loneliness boredom and fear
I get down on my knees and thank God for them.
Du Fu, the Psalms, Whitman, Rilke.
Life has taught me
to understand books.
— Franz Wright