When my grandkids talk to Oprah
about their Nana, the famous writer,
they will say words were my oxygen--
to read, to write, to share,
and that I spent way too much money
at Thrift Stores on books by dead authors--
Emily Dickinson, George Herbert, LM Montgomery
They will also tell her I loved to sing--
another form of breathing--
and how I embarrassed them in public
by belting out the "Tomorrow" song from Annie
or grabbing their elbows in the mall
while shouting "We're off to see the Wizard!"
They will announce to the world,
in front of God and everybody,
that my profession as a teacher was their
constantly coaching them about penmanship,
the correct formation of the letter "a"
or while reading, pointing out misread syllables in
a favorite text.
They will oblige Ms. O's prodding by adding the death
that I couldn't help myself when it came to learning,
revealing in hushed tones I often resorted
to using an encyclopedia as torture
(the 1956 World Book edition).
My grandchildren will remind her, however,
(before the commercial break)
my best qualities were the way I delighted in the world,
showing them wonders in the garden,
surprises in the grass, the avian miracles of
chickadees and juncos in the branches
or robins in the birdbath.
Most of all, when my grandkids talk to Oprah,
they will tell her my lungs longed for the breath of
Heaven, the Word, and how its oxygen proved
my greatest life support throughout my livelong days.
c. Jody Lee Collins 2016