Worth reading

Spelling Test


Outside rained over the tetherballs,
but here I held the world. The joy
of getting it down, down right,
the sharp purple scent of page
under pen—I scratched away
in love with the word.

Number six: squirrel.
Squirrel. It rode the curves,
rolled round the vowel. Again: squirrel.
Twisted open in the repetition—
past a small thing quivering. Whiskers,
acorns in a picture book. Pulled into
a turning whorl of sound.

Squirrel. The heady scent of what we call
what we call—by then no more word
than sound, no more sound than itself.

Pure strangeness, and the sweep
of the clock. I handed back my page,
its blank blurred lines. Then the bell,
the door. Tall grass at the edge of the blacktop.

Nothing could be named, though we moved our lips.


Lisa Gluskin Stonestreet
from Tulip, Water, Ash