347: ABC for Refugees

347: ABC for Refugees

347: ABC for Refugees

ABC for Refugees
by Monica Sok

Cherub-bee-dee how does a man
who doesn’t read English well know that cherub-bee-dum
those aren’t really words-bee-dee.
But birds.

Cherub-bee-dum, he stumbles, reading to me
by the sliding glass door cherub-bee-dee, through which I watch
my brother play in the dum-dum-yard.

Cherub-bee-dee, Cherub-bee-dum, like how my father says
Fine then! Leave! My mother shouts, Stupid! Dumb!
We live in a small bee-dee-nest too, one hallway to bee-dum-slam doors.

Birds? What are birds?
Thanks to my father, reading with me, I have more feathers.

T-H-E. First word he ever taught me to pluck . . .
It is a word used all the time. Cherub-cherub-bee-dum!

The mail. The mailbox. The school bus. The the.

He asks me to read the mail. Not birds, mail.
If you don’t read this, you will turn into birds.
And I read it to him the best I can.
The end. A feather. Two feathers. The. The end.

Mother, mother. Repeat after me.
Cherub-bee-dee, Cherub-bee-dum!
We read together before bedtime.

"ABC for Refugees," by Monica Sok, from A NAIL THE EVENING HANGS ON by Monica Sok, © copyright 2019 Copper Canyon Press. Used by permission of Copper Canyon Press.