The Poetic Hill: Impossibly Free

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Tori Collins has long been inspired by the power of words—she cites James Baldwin, Gwendolyn Brooks, Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, and E. Ethelbert Miller among her influences—and rediscovered the cathartic release of poetry for herself during the pandemic.

A native Chicagoan, she has lived in DC for seven years and works as a transportation policy analyst with the US Department of Transportation, but says that her “true work focuses on racial equality and addressing issues of oppression, poverty, and marginalization.”

Her poem, “The State of My Statehood,” was published in the Southwester and “From Pandemic to Protest” was featured here in 2020.

In her debut collection, “Impossibly Free: from pandemic to poetry,” Collins continues her exploration of the long-ranging effects of COVID, police brutality, and racial inequities. In “My Wonderful Life (2020 Reboot),” she wonders, “How can we make life wonderful again?” And in “Of Joy (Sonnet),” she asks, “Who does not know a troubled heart?” But her poems are also filled with hope. “I am torn about what comes next,” she writes in “Weakness is My Superpower,” “I believe I can still rise above.” In the title poem below, Collins shares her vision of heaven on earth.  

Impossibly Free

The desire to feel unconditionally loved,
Everyday consumes me.
Envisioning my every wound healed,
I feel free all of the time.
I move freely in the earth as I should
Boldly traversing landscapes nestled between
land and pond.
Washington, D.C. today, Bali tomorrow, Atlanta
next week,
and hopefully Heaven on earth someday soon.
I want others to be Free.
No poverty,
no hunger,
no pain,
no disappointments.
Just Free.
My vow,
to keep building this impossible hope for a
world that is eventually and,
Impossibly Free.

If you would like to have your poem considered for publication, please send it to klyon@literaryhillbookfest.org. (There is no remuneration.)