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  You could have a big dipper   

[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

for me.


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.

IG: @thainawrites

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