Words fly from your mouth like curious birds
or drift, like seeds, on a late summer’s day.
How rich your lexicon is! Language learning
is encrypted – a secular miracle.
You do a cherubic ‘Twinkle, Twinkle,
Little Star’ – and a thrash metal version!
You know your first and surname – sound them clear
as for a roll-call, announcing your
determined, fragile independence.
“What’s dat?”, “Why?” You are avid for knowledge,
understanding. Someone says, “Heavens above.”
“What’s ‘heaven’ mean, Grandma and Grandpa?”
We haven’t the heart to say, “Only the sky.”
You do not know and never will just how much
your first three years have changed our lives: seeing you
squirm, smile, crawl, walk, talk – begin to master
letters and colours. You paint in rich hues
with brush, sliced potato, your tiny hands.
You touch black print with pale finger tips,
as if to gently conjure it to speech,
reveal to you its coded, grown-up secrets.