Cacography

By Cathryn Cofell

Why define poor penmanship when few
will soon know how to read it?
Down now to one month
of the third grade syllabus
like a hands-on exhibit at the Museum of Writing,
the cursive around the corner from the cave
drawings and Mesoamerican scripts donated
by a wealthy papermaker, long dead.
Meanwhile, my kid can’t sign a code
of conduct to wrestle
and hands over greeting cards
not knowing what lies
between a twenty-dollar bill and love, grandma.

When I tell him he’s cacographic he says
“no, you shut up!”
as if this disappearance is making any loud din.
For what is poor penmanship anyway
when it slips away like a Jedi Knight?
When will X mark the bride, a scribble
of barbed wire become a new 2bd bungalow?
Cacography replaced by the fingerprint scan
and eventually another loss, that middle finger
bump built up since we had to write 500 times
with a yellow number two:
“I will not call Carol a cootie”—
all my “ls” with perfect loop-de-loops
like the Demon at Six Flags.

What will our demons be when 100 years
from now no one knows what it was
declared in the Declaration of Independence:
when in the house of humor vents...and worms
of horse mints be some dastards of sleep pants?
When know one knows what truths
were self-evident, that it was our right
to alter or abolish and we did.