Words and Letters

Photograph by Jose Padu
When I was in first grade
I hated the box of little
cardboard squares
with the letters printed
on them, because
whenever they took it
out and put it on the
desk in front of me
I knew it meant they
wanted me to take
the letters and make
words with them
and I hated making
words with letters,
why, I wondered,
would they not just
let me speak? That
box is long gone
and the letters in it
decayed, disintegrated,
dissolved into dust,
and now, fifty years
later, I am a grown
man who cannot be
told to make words,
which means that
in writing a poem
I’m fulfilling neither
duty nor obligation
but rather am committing
my daily act of revenge.

-Jose Padua

Photograph (Route 11 in Roanoke, VA) by Jose Padua

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