She asks me how school was today.
I remind her that I don’t go to school,
so she corrects,
reframes, asks me instead,
“How was work? How was your day?”
I tell her,
over our plates of pork roast,
that I drove far away
to visit another school system.
Then I ask her what she did today:
Did she enjoy school?
(she turns her head, looks out the window)
Did she hit the ball at her softball game?
Did she go to a work experience site?
Maybe the grocery store? The pet store?
Did she have fun?
What did she eat for lunch?
Who did she hug?
She must have hugged someone?

She looks back, resigned,
no words to curl
her tongue.
Neurons and muscles at odds.
A thing she has grown used to
having grown that way —
Seventeen years of speech therapy later,
she doesn’t answer,
instead asking me again
what her muscle memory
has mastered:
“How was school?” she says,
She asks me again
and again,
me mostly made of words,
to fill our silence,
and give her everything.

April 2015
Julie Ayers
NaPoWriMo Day 2



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