[IL]LITERATE by Thaina Joyce
Every time we go to the mall I pull your hand
into the bookstore. You give me an allowance
of ten minutes before you find
your impatience. They say books are an escape
from reality. Picture this: It would take only eight stories
for us to live more lives than one cat. We can travel
more than Gulliver without even moving our brandless shoes. We can sit with each others’ imagination and climb up the beanstalk to the clouds leaving the giant
plutocrats on the ground.
Mom, can you see? Reading can be the medicine
we never knew we needed.
I can count on one hand the amount
of books we have at home but I have
been writing poesias even before I knew
I could draw with words. One day
you’ll read them out of interest
not out of courtesy.
Maybe you were mastering the literacy
of survival, ever since reality yanked you out
of school in fourth grade and never looked back.
Time has taught you that hard work equals caring,
a clean uniform and feijoada on the table.
Books used to cost almost as much
as a new pair of sneakers and you could never
let us walk to school barefoot. I did see you read
every time when the bills came
you loved to figure out all the different ways
to make the letters spell PAID.
Going to the city library cost us four
bus tickets and the dwindling currency
of time. I still see you in the pile of half-read
books sitting beside my bed, but I no longer
blame you for not finishing them. I learned
that good authors make you read between
the lines to find meaning. The most inspiring
story I’ve ever read was the one you wrote
Thaina Joyce [she/her] is a Brazilian-American teacher and poet based in Maryland. She aims to create work that empowers, connects the human experience, and evokes new perspectives. Although writing for most of her life, her poetry is yet to connect with a broader audience.