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Learning to Speak

She was the quietest thing I'd ever seen.
It was so restful, being in her company
For hours, neither of us uttering a word.
I'd read the paper, look up, and she would smile,
Her lips half-pursed, just tucked up at the ends
As if holding a blithe secret.
When I fed her, she'd silently nod and smile,
Like immigrants you see
In train stations or in the movies,
She'd take the bowl from my hands
And nod again and smile again
And neither of us would say a word
From sunup to sunset.
When son and husband came home,
Both talking at once, both talking
With their mouths full,
My daughter and I could only look at them
With our dark quiet eyes.
Siddown, she says now.
I sit down
Without argument.

From The Lily Poems by Liz Rosenberg. Copyright © 2008 by Liz Rosenberg. Reprinted by permission of Bright Hill Press. All rights reserved.

From The Lily Poems by Liz Rosenberg. Copyright © 2008 by Liz Rosenberg. Reprinted by permission of Bright Hill Press. All rights reserved.

Liz Rosenberg