Tough choosing a poem this week amidst the hours spent hiking, walking, trying to tromp my way into some form of inner calm. More hours on the couch scrolling through my thousands of poems. Searching for certain poets, the ones who bring me comfort because they’re fearless, because they talk about life the way it is, because they use ordinary words to write about ordinary things that in their magic hands turn transcendent and remind me that I’m not in this alone. That I am never alone. That all over this country right now, there are others waking every morning and breathing in and breathing out and reminding themselves that the world has never been easy, that humankind has always been under threat by the few among us who take pleasure in being cruel, in inciting violence, in tearing apart the social fabric because . . . why? because they can, I guess. Yes, we are always under siege by those who would divide us for their own sick pleasure, and also yes, we are always fighting back. Sometimes with harshness, and sometimes with a book that lasts for a lifetime, as in this beautiful poem.
Reading to My Kids
– Kevin Carey
When they were little I read
to them at night until my tongue
got tired. They would poke me
when I started to nod off after twenty pages
of Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket.
I read (to them) to get them to love reading
but I was never sure if it was working
or if it was just what I was supposed to do.
But one day, my daughter (fifteen then)
was finishing Of Mice and Men in the car
on our way to basketball.
She was at the end when I heard her say,
No, in a familiar frightened voice
and I knew right away where she was.
“Let’s do it now,” Lennie begged,
“Let’s get that place now.”
“Sure, right now. I gotta. We gotta,”
and she started crying, then I started crying,
and I think I saw Steinbeck
in the back seat nodding his head,
and it felt right to me,
like I’d done something right,
and I thought to myself, Keep going,
read it to me, please, please, I can take it.
For more information about Kevin Carey, please click here.