Christmas Day 2011 {me + a pen}

by Amy Turn Sharp


She was the first one

to hand me paper

folded neatly and stapled

into a tiny book shape

a pen

thrust my way

Cross

tidy tiny blue ink

and told me to go ahead

I raised my finger to the sky and said

 

Granny

Silly Goose

 

Yes Matilda


She has always called me Matilda

don't matter none

that my name is Amy

 

I cannot write Granny.


Matilda write.


I can't even read yet.


Very well.


She smoothed her silver curls and pressed her cotton dress down her front

 

Just write in your mind


and so it goes

and somewhere in the old relic of the rickety house on the hill

the one she had to leave

somewhere there are all of these tiny books

the education of a writer named Matilda

 

I would speak out loud

little precocious daughter

of a very quiet man

I shouted and stamped my feet

walked roads in the nubby brown carpets of my childhood

and told tales that no one in the family could believe.

How does she come up with this?

They would laugh.

Mouths open wide

I would cry.

I would write stories about things that were not possibly true.

No dear, we did not have a Christmas day party with a large African Amercian family

playing“Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots,” and eating candy taffy

We did not find that boy on the milk carton

Your teacher did not hold up the bank in town

Your uncle is not the builder of all the bridges with 3 golden teeth

You have never even been in love little girl

How do you come up with all of these things? 


gran gave me the power to write inside of my mind

make things come true

like a mixed up magic wand between my eyes

and right now I am writing through to her

to her mind

from mine

as she is in a hospital bed

sick with the affliction of so many trips around the blazing sun

so old that she is like a God

like a myth

her thin white hair like whispers

I am writing to her in my mind

simple declarative sentences of love and gratitude

I have always known her

and I think she may have invented me