“To Be More”

Grotto graphic for poetry about pushing the limits that reads "Student Poetry" over an image of a bonfire.


To be brave I'd climb outside the skin I've always known, knock on the bars of my bones and hitch a ride with the moonbeams that hide and skirt and foxtrot between the leaves of the trees. I'd take a bottle, ¼ Lysol ¼ firmly planted feet, and ½ the love of family members. Then I'd spray it along the chunk of my brain that looks like an abandoned amusement park and fears being lonely and useless.


To be kind I'd fashion rainbows around bullets with a tiny pocket sewn to the metal holding prayers and hope and tolerance in its cavities and I'd send them as flares to the man who's tripped one too many times on the labels We gave him at birth. They wouldn't penetrate like normal bullets, no they'd open up and reach out an understanding hand and together we make a solution work.

To be kind I'd replace the razor blades in that girl’s heart, that girl we all know, with a toolbox. Then together we'd build a bonfire ready to burn the words Her skirt was too short alongside the words Boys will be Boys.

To be just I'd hand her rapist a full sentence in jail.


To be a force I'd take the brightest lightning bolt and paint it along the chambers of my mouth. Then I'd drape a calming wave across my lips like a watchman on duty, only letting the lightning bolt discharge when its force can be matched by conviction and integrity. Then I'd take that lightning bolt and that wave and I'd tattoo them to the words of my poetry.


To be free I'd pause in the intersection between the tallest mountain and the lowest cloud. I'd bellow like a banshee with a blow horn finally unafraid to admit I am child of God. Then I'd take an old tire swing and rock—back and forth. At one moment above the mountain, at another above only sky.


To be honest I'd pierce the first lie I ever told and its consequence to the tip of my nose, surveying it each morning to prevent any population growth or territorial expansions.


To be compassionate I'd set up a booth on the busiest street corner of the busiest city handing out compliments in canning jars so they can be eaten on any day, apologies with sewing kits, second chances with a map of everything great that's just around the corner, and free lemonade.


To be more I'd jackhammer the bottom of every heart to make holes where we can sew a telephone line between all the world's people and Heaven.

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