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A Question of No Words

Our teacher ask, “What do you do?”

The new girl answers, “Speech pathologist.”

“What do you do?”

Another unknown voice responds, “Occupational therapist.”

Understanding is asked

Of yet

To be known, words.

“What do you do?”

Our teacher asks, “What do you do?”

The words I know

For the jobs I don’t know


But few?

I’m not new, but I’m new enough.

She may ask because I’ve never answered

This question.

“What do you do?”

But there is more.

More to the words.

Than finding the words.

Pronunciation. Memorization.

These may be the exact right words

Explained in all the wrong ways.

If she asks me next, what do I say?

What do the unknown words

Teach you,

About you

To answer, the question

“What do I do?”

Months ago, in another kitchen

My niece asked.

The same words.

I paused.

“A teacher. Like a teacher. But not exactly a teacher.”

One. Two. Three. Four. Five.


I knew.

What do I do?

Better, my words

Then, all the words.

Even if they are few.


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