Hope

Amphora of demons
masquerading as angels,
lifting us upward
from our holes of despair
only so we may fall farther,
crashing into the hard turf
of reality,
the impact deepening the
hole,
darkening it
so it is more difficult
to reconcile ourselves
with our new level of suffering.
Hope is Pandora’s
greatest curse,
the joyful quickening of the heart
just before
cardiac arrest.
It is the
lifeline
leading
to a dead end.
To hope is to
plant the seed,
split the wrist,
and pray rain comes
ere veins bleed out
for the dry-rooted crops.
It is the mirage
in the vast desert, an oasis
never touched
as it fades between
the endless, arid dunes.
It is
the flaring light of Heaven
fizzling out
in the dying neurons
of the Little Matchstick Girl
as she huddles in the
unfeeling snow
falling from God’s
indifferent breath.
And all gods are hopes
embodied so we may affix
praise, or blame,
instead of confronting the
blind, imbecilic hand of
Fate,
of cosmic determinism
which hears not, thinks not,
but fumbles idiotically as a
blind, dumb, deaf, mute
arbiter
of hopes and disappointments.
Because hope is the seed planted,
the roots anchored,
the vines entangling a foot
so you cannot flee,
cannot abandon the futility, but instead
forces you to look to tomorrow,
mishearing its whispers
as if they speak of
betterment,
even after countless
fallow fields
and fatal famines.
It is the shovel
digging into shallow earth
and striking upon rock instead of
fertile soil,
and then the pickaxe striking
the same scalped spot
in search of
iron,
silver,
gold;
the pyrite glow
of hope
leading us upon a wager
against that randomized gambler
that is Life.
And it is because hope is
puerility,
the stalled adolescence
of our species,
it is arrested development
inborn into all humans;
a willful naivete
that has us hearing
someone in the house
at 3AM
in the month of July
and telling ourselves,
with a shiver and a moan,
that it is
Santa Claus.
It is the carrot
that leads the donkey
into starvation
and it is the stick
that beats the donkey
long after its death, believing
that it might rise
and plow the fields
if we just strike it one more time.
It is acute accouchement
without pregnancy,
yielding nought but
the birthing pangs
and disappointment.
And yet
without hope
the crops go unplanted,
civilization goes unpeopled,
the canine mother
kills her pups
in fear of Winter’s wasteland
and we do not rise again
out of bed in the morning
to face the humdrum drudgery
of a woefully workaday life.

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