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Hoffnung

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He fancies his chances are good with her,
unaware that in the years since the war

she has come to prefer women whose cunts
taste like mustard. To pin one’s hopes on

a bark-colored moth, its wings crinkled
like crepe paper, a moth affixed high

on the kitchen wall, frozen for days where
it will likely die in noble clinging mode

just under the cobwebby heating vent,
is to confirm your need for more friends

and a greater daily quota of sunlight.
To raise C.’s hopes that T. can stop

drinking and then to liken those
hopes to fields of undulating grain,

alfalfa perhaps, is to wish C. hip deep
in acres of unscythed denial. The blind

typist hopes she’ll be hired tonight without
her disability becoming an issue. L. said he felt

hope’s rhizomes race throughout his body,
radiating in all directions, like some incipient

disease he’d been fighting since childhood.
Hope, he said, it’s as insidious as bitterness.

If mother earth only knew how much we
loved one another she would creak, shudder,

and split like a macheted melon, releasing
the fiery ball of molten hope at her core.

Source: Poetry (March 2013)

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This poem originally appeared in the March 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

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Hoffnung

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