Sarah Sullivan

You Could Be a Hymn

You could be chalk on the board,
dense white smooth chalk, not the yellow porous kind,
and not fingernails.

You could draw wheels, tease out their circumference,
and then calculate the number of rotations it takes
to get them from here to there, wherever ‘there’ is.

You could teach us about new ‘there’s,’
which are not new, but might be new to us,
such as Eunola, Alabama or Surabaya, Indonesia.

Sing songs born in Syria. Chalk
can do that. Chalk can draw planets—
including Pluto—circling the sun.

You could press yourself, firm, thick, as you scroll
your favorite Gwendolyn Brooks poem,
and have us write a new poem to the beat of her drum.

You could sing because chalk
can be a hymn, a pen can be a hymn,
fingers and hands and walking through the streets
can all be hymns.

You could belt out the earliest spirituals,
the ones that get people through the undoable.
You could raise your voices toward heaven
or hum for the ants who clean up after your picnic.

You could praise whatever it is that you can find
to praise that one day, your sleek chalk body

skating anthems across the board for all to see.