On the first day of fourth grade, Mrs. Hunter
collected our penmanship samples to save
until June; by then, she said, we’d write
in the handwriting we would have all our lives.
And though she probably read that in a book
on child development, I was so excited
I could hardly stand it. In nine months
my adult self would be born, she would
send me a letter, and in the ways she swooped,
careened, and crossed her t’s, I could
read everything I would need to know.
It made me happy the whole year, thinking
of how we were writing ourselves into the future.
And that each of us got closer whenever we turned
the silver gears in the sharpener near the door,
the sweet-smelling wood shavings tumbling
inside, smelling as if a house were being built.