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Poverty Is

About the Work

A multi-media installation showcased in her solo exhibition “”It’s Rough: Paper as a Luxury” in response to a poem written by her younger sister, Genevieve Palmisano.
What is poverty?
Poverty is more than just a state of being.

It's the breath trapped in your chest, keeping you from telling Mom your shoes are too tight, 
or your underwear has holes in it.
It's the luxurious quality surrounding the McDonald's dollar menu,
Or eating spaghetti so often the sight of it makes your throat tighten.
It's Mom nodding off in the middle of cooking dinner.
It's wearing your brother's hand-me-downs,
Or not getting your first, brand new pair of sneakers until you're almost 11.
It's seeing your sisters transform into secondary Moms, picking up where neglect left off.
It's the red heat that smacks your face at the words, “Can I come over to play?”
It’s seeking shelter from home in the embrace of tree branches and imaginary castles.
It's the gaping hole where your self-esteem should have grown;
It's the silence where your voice should have been.

It's watching your sister struggle to see her twelve year old as a child,
Because if she wasn’t grown at his age, why wasn’t someone protecting her?
It's that far-off look lying in wait inside an empty cabinet,
And the whatifwhatifwhatif that compels you to overstock every necessity.
It's the bile and flames that you swallow when you pass a mobile home.
It's the sweaty palms that open every bill, no matter the state of your bank account.
It's the devil on your shoulder long after you leave the trailer park behind.

Poverty is a state of mind.
~Genevieve Palmisano
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