from “Brown Girl Dreaming.”

The Reader

When we can’t find my sister, we know
she is under the table, a book in her hand,
a glass of milk and a small bowl of peanuts beside her.

We know we can call Odella’s name out loud,
slap the table hard with our hands,
dance around it singing
“She’ll be Coming ‘Round the Mountain”
so many times the song makes us sick
and the circling makes us dizzy
and still
my sister will do nothing more
than slowly turn the page.

from Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2014).

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