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My Grandson Learns How to Punctuate
Gail Fishman Gerwin


At the end of his school day,
he climbs into my car,
this Kindergarten child whose
birth almost eluded us
as we watched his mother
contract too soon.

He snaps his seatbelt, this
dimpled imp whose sweet
voice belies the grit that
helped him hang on until
his scheduled delivery date.

He talks of his day—
the art of learning, his
discovery of words on the page,
the read-aloud poem of the week
requiring three adult signatures.

He tells of his highlight,
Nana, he says, today I learned
all about punctuation, I know
     the period
     the question mark
     the excabation point.

But, he confides, I didn’t
learn about the comma yet.
Reaching his home, he hops
from the car, mounts the stairs
toward his snack in the kitchen, 

this after-school gift,
my brown-eyed
excabation point.
Copyright by Gail Fishman Gerwin.
Used with the author's permission.

Gail Fishman Gerwin (1939 - 2016), a "Jersey girl" from birth who claims to have channeled Dorothy Parker and Sylvia Plath on occasion, authored three poetry collections: Crowns (Aldrich Press) was inspired in part by her four grandchildren; Sugar and Sand was a Paterson Poetry Prize finalist, and Dear Kinfolk (ChayaCairn Press) earned a Paterson Award for Literary Excellence. Founder of the writing/editing firm Inedit, Gail was also the associate poetry editor for Tiferet and frequently participated in workshops and panels on the creative process.

Post New Comment:
I loved this!
Posted 03/17/2015 12:47 PM
Thanks, everyone. And thanks, Jayne for including this in your anniversary retrospective. The subject of this poem, now headed for sixth grade, finally learned about the comma. Gail
Posted 03/13/2015 04:40 PM
Love it, Gail!
Posted 03/13/2015 12:43 PM
As someone who almost never uses punctuation in my poetry, I found this poem a great "exclabation" of its importance in some cases. Well done.
Posted 03/13/2015 10:38 AM
darling little boys...(and girls too, of course)...lovely and it deserves lots of excabation point!!!!!!!!!
Posted 03/13/2015 09:59 AM
They are so innocent at that age.
Posted 03/13/2015 09:31 AM
Now a grandma to adults, this brings back wonderful memories.
Posted 03/13/2015 06:39 AM
I loved this!
Posted 03/13/2015 06:12 AM
Posted 03/12/2015 11:46 PM
Why does this bring tears to my eyes? Oh, that's right, it's because I'm a grandma too!
Posted 03/12/2015 11:23 PM

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