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Words (to her) are — well,
I don’t know what they are.
That is why we do the lessons.
Perhaps (to her) they are birds —
each word a flock
of small, black birds.
Or maybe miniature furniture
moved into a room
as my finger reveals them
When she gets distracted
and I have to say, “Sound it out,”
maybe she is thinking of trees,
with strange roots
and fruit that floats above them.
Or maybe she really is thinking
about Pat and his cat,
and I am the one who wanders on
to birds and trees and furniture.