Speech Derapy

Stephanie Choi

Dey discovered it in dird grade
whenever we practiced counting
money, candy, or people
I kept saying dirty, dirty

say thirty, thirtysee how
she cannot pronounce th, th
de teacher said to my parents.

In de car on de way home
mom said to dad, you
pronounce things like that
sometimes, she probably
gets it from you.

After dat, a lady came
dree times a week
to pull me out
of independent reading.

I can’t remember
any other kid being cruel,
laughing at me
each time I left, each time
I said dird or dirty or de

though it might be easier
to write this poem
about that, I only remember

de small room filled
wid games we played,
memory, go fish, bingo.

I practiced following
de lady’s mouth,
pushing my tongue
into my front teeth
again and again
until I could say it.

Until I discovered
dat I might be able
to fix any ding
in myself.