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The Girl at 3.

 The girl is in love with the letter M. M, she says quietly to
herself--smiling at the thought of it. M, she says, out loud.
 (The book I'm reading says that what we have to do, within
ourselves, to learn to read--creates a self, But when we've created
that self we've created an edge that separates us from the world we
long for : the interiority we create by reading is rich and lonely.)
In the paintings of the Annunciation Mary has looked up from her book to
listen to the angel.
In some her finger keeps her place, as if she would return to where she
was, or to who she was after listening (But she will not return)
Where is that angel? In the room? Or within the room her reading has
made within her?
It's a European invention--the book, the girl, the curtained bed.
Mary couldn't read, and so--according to the book I'm reading
--didn't have a self, not as we know it.
She held these things in her heart.
M! the girl says when she sees the letter on her letter board, although
it is in fact an N.
M! she shouts, in the way she shouts Home! when we arrive there. 

MARIE HOWE'S books include The Kingdom of Ordinary Time (W. W. Norton, 2009), What the Living Do (1998), and The Good Thief (Persea, 1988).

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Title Annotation:ten poems: A Special APr Supplement
Author:Howe, Marie
Publication:The American Poetry Review
Article Type:Poem
Date:Sep 1, 2016
Words:283
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