i learned to read

i learned to read when i was three years old
from cereal boxes, riding in a grocery cart

when my mom would lift me into or out of the cart,
that would be the only time all week
anyone in the family would touch me

in the family i grew up in, we
didn’t touch each other much
or tell each other much that
actually mattered much

my parents were never cruel
never neglectful
just
reticent
never touching us, or,
each other —
at least where we saw them

i never knew what they were feeling
because they didn’t say

so

i learned to read

to read feelings, to figure out when
people were sad or angry or
anything else without them
actually telling me

it’s not a very exact science
but
i’ve been a practitioner to this day

and as for never being touched:

when you are never touched,
if i am any representative,
you may not feel hated, but
you feel
hateworthy

or maybe

loveunworthy

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7 Thoughts to “i learned to read

  1. Oh…..to love one has to be lovable and be loved…………….Surely by now you KNOW you’ve broken those bonds of perceived unlove and You can deeply love yourself………….Only cognitive understanding doesn’t cut it, does it?
    sending lots of x0xo,
    Angel in the dust

    1. The ability to read people has to be beneficial though, for all your childhood sounds awful

      1. It has been, you are right.

        My family did laugh a lot, at least. And we did stuff together – read, make music, go on car trips, talk. So there was much good, as well.

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