Do you remember learning the alphabet?
Tracing your tender fingers along the fine-grain sandpaper
carefully glued to the squares of black and white poster board that
I’d cut by hand the best I could, and good enough; I knew some tricks.
I copied the letters from a Montessori book because I wanted
to make them just like the school; the one we left behind
with our friends and your favorite Chuck E Cheese
for the hell-heat of Texas, just in time for everything to fall apart.
I gave them away, the letters, and yes there were numbers, too,
when you were reading well, when it was well past time.
But my fingers recall the dedication, and the knuckle skin lost in the quest
for no sharp edges, convinced your love of language was at stake.
Yes it was overkill; I often mourn my perfectionist’s lost time, but I’m
different now, and even with aching knuckles I can still trace the sharp edges
of my mistakes and the confidence I wore like skin that I would always
be there when you needed me to smooth your edges too.
~ Liesl Dineen 2015