Ying Wu

Cherish What Blossoms

My daughter still reads in my lap.
Her voice skates smoothly
from page to page
until she stumbles over turnip.
It makes her laugh.
Because turn and nip.
Her shoulders shake against my chest.

She’s almost done with level G.
Next is H. Then I.
Next are chapter books.
Next is long division.
It’s like a corridor.
Fractions in the distance,
cursive, compound clauses.
And further still – polynomials,
reflexive verbs, sonnets,
force dynamics, Aristotelian dialectic.

I can’t remember learning how to read.
The patterns have ingrained themselves
as droplets etch the face of stone.
I simply can’t remember
what happened in my favorite books,
or the feel of words inside my mouth,
or stories I made up myself,
or whether turnip ever made me laugh.

Ying Wu studies neurocognitive mechanisms mediating creativity and insight, and hosts San Diego’s Gelato Poetry Series. Her work has been featured in Serving House Journal, Synesthesia Anthology, Blue Heron Review, The San Diego Poetry Annual and The Poetry Superhighway, and was awarded honorable mention in the Kowit poetry competition.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. igorgoldkind says:

    This is really an excellent piece that fits together like a pocket watch: each image and internalised sound (“turn nip”) carefully calibrated. The relishing of the physical sound of words is evident and very persuasive towards the reader joining in on the sound-full revery.

    “patterns have ingrained themselves
    as droplets etch the face of stone” Beautiful line!! Find the mortal fragments within immortality (like stones).

    The nostalgia for the physical sensation of mastery (first reading…), and yet failing to recall the tangibility of the experience. Just like realising what you can’t remember anymore, the past is a distant country. And so goes cognition sure to set on own horizon.

    But Looking backwards towards your own epistemological corridor and recalling what you cannot quite remember with the certainty of your senses is a nuanced and subtle description of a universal experience that many of us have no idea that we’re having; or that we will have increased as time wreaks its havoc. Thanks for articulating the state for us.

  2. igorgoldkind says:

    *on each of our own horizons.

  3. Debbie Hall says:

    Beautiful poem, Ying.

  4. Oh Ying. I love this one. Especially as I teach grandchildren to read.

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