Grown-ups

(a) Use friends as rulers

run your pen along their spines

hold the world against them

to see if it lines up

 

(b) Treat life like mystery murders

pinned to a corkboard

connected with red string

pull it forward with hooked finger

and trace back to find the culprit

 

(c) Measure past distance

with a squinted eye and raised thumb

recall how you wanted to be

an astronaut horse-rider

writer fire-fighter

 

What you want to be when you grow up

(a) refers to career not being

(b) distinguishes between career and being

(c) asks you to plan a career trajectory

 

Trajectories are for sling-shots

and textbook parabolas

they do not plan where to go

but go still

 

Grow up means

a point at which growth ends

before you get to end

see how you can grow down or sideways

 

Stand against your own marked wall

with dates scribbled next to pencil lines

on tippy toes, ask yourself

am I taller? 

have I grown?

About the author
Gabrielle McCulloch is a student at The University of Auckland studying English and Politics. She writes poetry, shorts stories, personal essays and whatever else she wants. After living in Auckland, Aotearoa her whole life, Gabrielle recently fell in love with her city. She is excited about discovering what New Zealand poetry and art is, and what it could be.