She was a reader,

from a very early age,

as soon as she was able;

to link letters into words,

and words into sentences,

and sentences into paragraphs;

she read.

She read the backs of boxes of

cocoa mix and baking powder,

and cereal and baking soda;

she read everything in the books

provided by the school,

and all the spelling words

for the entire year,

as soon as she received the book.

she read the English book and

the Religion book and

even the Arithmetic book,

because they all contained


Matthew bought 6 pounds of plaster

at 56 cents per pounds

to re-plaster a room

that was 12 feet by 12 feet;

Did Matthew buy enough plaster?

She didn’t care if Matthew had

purchased enough plaster;

she was on to the next problem.

She read all the books in the

school library

and all the books in the bookcase

in her parents’ living room,

But her thirst was insatiable

and she began to find more

and more books to read,

and then there were the magazines,

in racks in the Drug Store,

and the paperback books,

lined up on the shelves

and the advertisements

on the walls of the buses

she took to and from school

and later, to and from work;

she read the National Geographics,

and the Reader’s Digests

that her parents subscribed to,

and she tried to read

the German magazine

her grandmother subscribed to

but many of the words eluded her–

but still she read

all the books that crossed

her line of vision,

all the written words,

until the books she hadn’t read


began to pile up in stacks

alongside her  bed

and the futon in the living room;

she could no longer keep up,

Yet she tried.

she was The Reader.

–Sandra Lee Smith


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