Fourth Summer 1959

I taught myself to read
because of Thing One
and Thing Two, and what
Dr. Seuss had them getting
into; because of pictures 
of locomotives and roosters 
and kittens dappling pages
of Seven Little Postmen.
How could I wait a whole
five seasons more for
Mrs. Cleck’s chalkboard
at Dewey Elementary

once my mother, shoulders
golden in sundress straps, 
put me on her lap, showed 
me the book she clasped
containing words like

     scuppernong   fleece   
        brethren   corral  
   supine   ginger   brash

All those letters arranged 
in exotic combinations 
I had never heard before -
pronounced aloud right there 
on our living room sofa

Shoshauna Shy

Shoshauna Shy is the founder of Woodrow Hall Editions and the Poetry Jumps Off the Shelf program. Her poems have been published by over 200 journals and presses. One of her poems was selected for the Poetry 180 Library of Congress program launched by Billy Collins. Author of five collections, she is the recipient of two Outstanding Achievement Awards from the Wisconsin Library Association, and was a finalist for the Tom Howard/Margaret Reid poetry prize sponsored by Winning Writers. Her poems have been made into video, produced inside taxi cabs, and on the backsides of buses. Not a monogamous writer, she works on 7-11 pieces at the same time. She is also a flash fiction author— but that’s another story!