If nothing else,

by Kelli Russell Agodon

hope. If a babe arrives
and you didn’t mean for life to appear
in your studio apartment: hope.
If lunar eclipse or melting polar ice caps: hope.
If war planes fly above your home, nuclear
subs in the canal of your backyard: hope.
If hope is a body, let us always know
its curves. If hope is a taste, let us not
keep it under our tongue.
This is what I speak of.
Of quivering and graceful, classrooms
of children, sand taken from the shore.
If hope is a stargazer lily, let it
take root. If hope a lamb, give it a field
to hide and roam. Hope spills
from the pockets of teachers, aches
to be more like the mountains—
so vast, so above it all.
Hope was raised on breast milk,
a rainbow flag. If hitchhiking
and long roads without a map, hope.
If questioning, What do we have?
When the fabric is ragged, hope lights
a candle in the shadowlands,
stitches up what has been torn.

Kelli Russell Agodon is the cofounder of Two Sylvias Press where she works as an editor and book cover designer. Her most recent book, Hourglass Museum, was a finalist for the Washington State Book Awards and shortlisted for the Julie Suk Poetry Prize. Her second book, Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room was the winner of the Foreword Indies Book of the Year for poetry and was also a finalist for the Washington State Book Awards. She also coauthored The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts for Your Writing Practice, with poet Martha Silano. She lives in a sleepy seaside town in Washington State where she is an avid paddleboarder. www.agodon.com / www.twosylviaspress.com