Speed Reading
Julie L. Moore

Speed Reading

In fifth grade, my teacher
pulled me out of class
twice a week
and sat me
behind a machine
to train me how to read
with speed, to cure me
of lingering over language.
I’d lean forward, rest my
forehead on the instrument
while prose scrolled up
the screen at a pre-determined
pace, no matter the story,
eliminating the luxury
of contemplation
or daydreams,
any possibility
of poetry in my mind.
Haste made letters
near margins
And black blocks
emerging from the system
censored expressions
deemed insignificant,
muting the words’ music—
their violins and flutes—
so the main idea
lodged in my concentration.
I was supposed
to comprehend something
akin to meaning
by ignoring every ostensible
sign I saw that said,
Imagine that.

Julie L. Moore

is the author of four poetry collections, including, most recently, Full Worm Moon, which won one of five 2018 Woodrow Hall Top Shelf Awards and received honorable mention for the Conference on Christianity and Literature's 2018 Book of the Year award. A Best of the Net and five-time Pushcart Prize nominee, she has also contributed to Alaska Quarterly Review, Image, New Ohio Review, Poetry Daily, Prairie Schooner, The Southern Review, and Verse Daily. She is an associate professor of English and the writing center director at Taylor University, where she is the poetry editor for Relief Journal.