Poems & Essays

21 Sep

To Matthew, Who Wants to Know How to Write His Name

General/Column No Response

I have given you the alphabet
its geometry of angles and curves
its music and mouth feel
and now you want to string it
like the painted macaroni you necklace for me.
You want to set the letters in motion,
to see yourself take shape.
So again I give you your name,
the one I whispered when you arrived
brick and bruised from your passage.
You copy it in red crayon and wobbling hand,
scratch it on the driveway with chalk,
recite the letters from your car seat,
engraving them in the air with your fingertip.
Other words will come in time,
from abacus to maelstrom, melodious
to zygote. I hope you pluck and savor
each one like a peach fresh from the branch.
Soon, I will teach you the carpentry,
how words hammered together hang
like doorways–how reading is an exit
and writing, a welcome mat.


Lauren Cerruto loves the taste of words, especially when they are well prepared. She has a BA in English from the University of Virginia, where she studied poetry with Greg Orr, Deborah Nystrom, and Rita Dove. Her poems have appeared in Margie: The American Journal of Poetry, The Journal of NJ Poets, The Paterson Literary Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Cliterature, Poets Online, and in a final exam at West Point Military Academy. She is currently working on a poetry chapbook and a novel.

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