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Jill Radcliffe

May is a slight child,
five /six
give or take.

As I sit, she leans against me
in casual indifference.
Tousled hair shadows her face.
Dirty fingernails display
traces of pearly pink nail polish.

She crosses her arms
as she leans against the desk
and sighs as she
touches the page with
careful fingertips.
She studies the gaudy picture,
but not the words.

She hesitates, distracted
by something in the room.
'May?', I say as I bring her
back to the picture book
in front of us.

With my pen,
I point gently to the word

'Dog', she confides,
looking up at me, blue eyes
confident and sure.

'AND', I correct.
Can you tell me the letters?
She studies them long and deep.

'Dog', she smiles.


Jill Radcliffe