She reads in midnight whispers
to my now calmed infant sister
mesmerized by mother’s voice.
Seated in the kitchen, silhouetted
in the glow of an open oven door
reflected in her face, as she scoots
over slightly, invites me to hop up,
huddle in closest to the heat. I
listen to her story accompanied by
milk bubbled gulps, rubber nipple
noises, sissy’s slowing grunts and
sighs as tired tiny eyes fall asleep.
Mom tilts the book for me to look,
follow her finger under lines of
words I am far too young to read.
From picture-less pages characters
emerge, each given unique speech,
scenes seen in a two year old mind.
With magical skill mom interprets
printed words to adventure worlds
beyond my world safe by her side.
I begin to imagine how someday
I’ll read books myself from library
shelves, recite by rote written notes,
translate letters to sounds to words,
skillfully decipher black and white,
and amaze audiences awed at my art
of perfectly pronouncing six syllable
words, barely heard, as crowds cheer,
rise to their feet and call out my name.
I awaken to the morning light never
remembering how I got to my bed
or when her story became my dream.
Carl Palmer, twice nominated for the Micro Award in flash fiction and thrice for the Pushcart Prize in poetry, is from Old Mill Road in Ridgeway, VA. Carl now lives in University Place, WA. MOTTO: Long Weekends Forever.