Monthly Archives: December 2012

Poet Carlos Andres Gomez performing “Gifted”

“Gifted” (For Maya)

Carlos Andrés Gómez

My little sister likes to read Harry Potter books. Will spend

an entire afternoon doing nothing but something

she’s not supposed to be able to do.

Don’t be fooled, though, by the fluttering pages in her palms,

she’s channeling Da Vinci:

inverting words like a fresh bruise turned tangerine orange.

She picks the ripe hurt from a swaying branch in a chapter,

and we both hear Albert Einstein’s words echo up from the floor,

If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairytales.

If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairytales.

My little sister, Maya, likes to read fairytales, has always loved


it’s where we built her playground. She is Leonardo

minus the mirror. It took years for people to read

what everyone thought was Da Vinci’s own invented

language when all he did was just write


And just like Einstein and Leonardo, Maya has a gift,

some don’t think so and call her dyslexic.

She has a genius to her. Coded like the paragraphs her potent mind

distills. But like the clumsy coinings of Columbus and other amnesiac,

pompous explorers who stumbled into their backyards and claimed

they discovered India or Penicillin or what’s wrong with someone

they shame a label onto her

like dyslexia

like stupid

like suffering from a deficit of attention.

But while kids repeat monotone words from a teacher who might as well

be a cartoon parrot or a doll’s audio recorded voice or a Hooked on

Phonics tape acting as a babysitter,

while kids stuff their mouths with dull letters and muted sounds, Maya is

in a daydream.

They try to beat her down with a four-letter acronym baton but she’s too

busy directing the orchestra with her magic wand, a symphony of

mixed chlorophyll-tinged pastels, constellation-framed with songs

of a summer breeze-drenched field.

Maya’s dancing in that open clearing in the woods, scrawling

out recipes with Mozart in sweaty rooms of overcrowded notes.

She calls it a curse. I tell her it is a gift.

There is nothing wrong with you, Maya.

She asks me who with dyslexia has ever really done anything besides

this Leonardo Da Vinci or Albert Einstein

and I answer,

Well, I guess no one else really;



Ann Bancroft,

John Lennon,

Auguste Rodin,

Ansel Adams,

F. Scott Fitzgerald,

George Washington,

W.B. Yeats,

Agatha Christie,

Muhammad Ali.

Maya, your mind is a gift of greatness.

I’d rather see the page like you. Imagine all of the

possibilities at once, the paragraphs unhinged, each sentence

released by the first-hinted promise of a word, its promise

to make us free.

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