READING by Austin Araujo
How he reads the paper, his frail
then firm exhalations gliding along each word,
breath dancing a sentence’s waltz
and driven spin just below my ear,
swaying in the quiet of a house
otherwise buried beneath the din of my thoughts.
The labor of my own reading is silent,
corralling all of these book’s voices in my head,
refusing to let any out into the pasture
of the room while his tongue’s soft percussion
clicks in time with the folding
and unfolding of his brow. Each comma
gives him a chance to suck in more air,
the noise of which sends my attention
careening from the page, away from its castles
and systems of magic, and toward his measured
gasps that move me between fascination
and disgust like the sounds of a loud chew.
The muscles in his face must twitch then stiffen
out of habit. No. He has only made
this practice of meeting the printed word
recently, turning the newspaper’s box scores
and block quotes into speech, morphing his voice
into music not his own but in his key.
My father blowing quarter notes
into this pasture, this field, this meadow,
while the farmhands in my skull sigh
at what seems like wasted work: keeping
the boy and his wizard inside the fence.
- Published in Issue 18