Listening to Grace
Read in Spanish
Mary M. Brown (bio)

It’s too complicated to explain why
   I am here, sitting at this classroom
table across from Grace, who is

reading a story aloud in Spanish.
   I am neither student nor teacher
in this class, and I do not know much

Spanish, but I do know Grace
   and several other students in this
room, all of them fixed on the Spanish

text before them, all of them either
    relieved to have read aloud already
or anxious, knowing it will soon be

their turn. But now we are listening
   to Grace, feeling the low lull of her
gray sweats, relaxed by the loose

pull of her ponytail, the sweet lick
   of lips, the calm of it all belied by
the rumor of a tremor in her voice,

a shyness in the face of certain Spanish
   syllables, the motions of an old peace
set aquiver by some fragile, foreign

ghost. I remember as I listen to
   the Spanish to ponder what the story
is about, then let it go, that kind

of knowing so beside the point, so
   small beside the larger wonder
of this wavering voice of Grace.



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