Priorities of Some Mexican Children

A sign was leaning toward adobe shacks
back from the road, across a dry plateau.
LLANOS it read, the same as our Plains.
When we stopped to photograph the view
three black-haired children hurried down a path
shouting something, eager to be heard.
"Get out your pocketbooks," I said,
"I can guess the word."
When they got closer, we could tell
it was not dinero but
lapiz and papel.


Jimmy Carter, Always a Reckoning, 1995

lapiz: pencil;   papel: paper.