Sunday, August 9, 2020


Learning to Talk

Whenever Jason said "beeber" for "beaver"

or "skirl" for "squirrel"

I secretly loved it.

They're better words:

The busy beeber beebing around;

the grey squirrel's tail

like a skirl of smoke along a maple branch.

I never told him he was saying

their names "wrong,"

though I did pronounce them conventionally.

One time he noticed, and explained,

" 'Beeber' is how I say it."

"Great," I told him, "whatever

moves you."

But within a week

he was pronouncing both "properly."

I did my duty

and I'm sorry.

Farewell Beeber and Skirl.

So much beauty lost to understanding.


Jim Dodge
Rain on the River
Grove Press, 2002

Jim Dodge in 1984. Photograph: Roger Ressmeyer/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

Jim Dodge lives right, sees right and writes right and he writes right in both poetry and prose, a two pistol gunslinger, with some of the funniest and plainly unique books like FUP, and story poems that you will want to read aloud to anyone you can find. Find the poem about his brother and Dodge giving their dog a bath and what happens. I'm still laughing.

[ BA ]