Talking About the Day
Each night after reading three books to my two children—
we each picked one—to unwind them into dreamland,
I'd turn off the light and sit between their beds
in the wide junk-shop rocker I'd reupholstered blue,
still feeling the close-reading warmth of their bodies beside me,
and ask them to talk about the day—we did this,
we did that, sometimes leading somewhere, sometimesnot, but always ending up at the happy ending of now.
Here's the rest of the poem.
I can't remember where I found this Jim Daniels poem, either, but I have it saved on my hard drive, and I've been reading it with students for years. We always discuss empathy and standing up for our friends when we read it. It's simple but profound.
We were outcasts –
you with your stutters,
me with my slurring –
and that was plenty for a friendship.
When we left class to go to the therapist
we hoped they wouldn’t laugh –
took turns reminding the teacher:
“Me and Joe have to go to speech clash now,”
or “M-m-me and J-Jim ha-have to go to
Mrs. Clark, therapist, was also god, friend, mother.
Once she took us to the zoo on a field trip:
“Aw, you gonna go look at the monkeys?”
“Maybe they’ll teach you how to talk.”
We clenched teeth and went
and felt the sun and fed the animals
and were a family of broken words.
For years we both tried so hard
and I finally learned where to put my tongue and how to make the sounds
but the first time you left class without me
I felt that punch in the gut –
I felt like a deserter
and wanted you
to have my voice.
Today's line for the Progressive Poem is here.