Hope on the Peripheral by Ward Kelley


Hope on the Peripheral

Hope scrawls its name on the margins,
where it finds its room on the peripheral
skin of lovers in bed, where space is most
available.

“Your neck smells like eternity,” the lover
will whisper. The one with the neck knows
she is incapable of such hope, but will
never say this.

Hope dashes into the street, an escaping
animal, setting an example for everyone
watching from the condos.

“Sometimes I felt like I was flying,”
says the old married woman, describing
falling in love fifty years ago, “I believed
I would forever possess those wings.”

There is much reason to hope when the body
is young, perhaps even more when the body
is ending, and there are many more clues,
many more wrinkles, that the uninformed
believe attest to experience. Instead within
these folds can be found – in several places –
where hope left its name long ago, on margins.

                – Ward Kelley
                   from Words Dance 5, Summer 2004