“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 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;
F. Scott Fitzgerald,
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.