to them at night until my tongue
got tired. They would poke me
when I started to nod off after twenty pages
of Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket.
I read (to them) to get them to love reading
but I was never sure if it was working
or if it was just what I was supposed to do.
But one day, my daughter (fifteen then)
was finishing Of Mice and Men in the car
on our way to basketball.
She was at the end when I heard her say,
No, in a familiar frightened voice
and I knew right away where she was.
“Let’s do it now," Lennie begged,
“Let’s get that place now.”
“Sure, right now. I gotta. We gotta,”
and she started crying, then I started crying,
and I think I saw Steinbeck
in the back seat nodding his head,
and it felt right to me,
like I’d done something right,
and I thought to myself, Keep going,
read it to me, please, please, I can take it.
First appeared in Kevin's poetry collection Jesus was a Homeboy (CavanKerry Press).
Kevin Carey is Coordinator of Creative Writing at Salem State University. He has published a chapbook of fiction from Red Bird Chapbooks, The Beach People (2014) and three books of poetry, The One Fifteen to Penn Station (2012), Jesus Was a Homeboy (2016) which was an Honor book for the Paterson Literary Prize, & Set in Stone (2020) all from CavanKerry Press. His poems have twice appeared on The Writers Almanac on National Public Radio and on The Academy of American Poets Poem a Day. His new crime novel, Murder in the Marsh, from Darkstroke Books, was released in October (2020). Kevincareywriter.com
Here's a link to Kevn's latest poetry collection Set in Stone (2020) https://cavankerrypress.org/product/set-in-stone/