George Lober

Ricardo Writes His Name

Corcoran High School, 1976

It stays with me in pieces: the weak grin,
his awkward stance at the front of my desk,
the uneasy breath before he leaned in
and put pencil to paper, the clear risk
he might forget everything he just learned.
How the lead tip dragged from “r” to “i” to “c”
before pausing, then lifted and returned
to make the “a” and “r.” How he told me
days before he could not write his first name,
much less a page about a story or book—
the clear teenage logic of that—his shame,
his honesty, my surprise, the guts it took.
The way after finishing the “d” and “o,”
he stepped back, just said,

That’s me! Ricardo.
© George Lober, 2024
George Lober

Books by George Lober