HOPE IS NOT A BITTER VALIUM
after Tadeusz Rozewicz
Hope is not a bitter Valium, dispensed
by jump-roping popes and politicians, nor
a wick strung on a yo-yo
of candies we swallow
It is not the strum
of a mistress’s guitar string, nor
a scratch-off prize
in a bread line.
What it is: the purposeful crush of calcite skeletons
into limestone, the buoyant
wallpaper in a barren nursery, the shared scald
of hot cocoa that whips our genetic froth.
If this is all we are—mere bugs in a Mason jar, whose eyelash legs
against the glass—let us
grasp this cobweb ladder, and let it
lift us up.
WHAT IS YOUR CHIEF COMPLAINT?
My coat is white for a reason:
Behind the curtain, I will listen
And let you paint me with your palette of poxes.
There’s a touch of hypochondria in all of us,
And without release, the pressure will erupt
like pustules of some unnamed female disorder.
You have it. I have it, too.
Spin me your history of plagues.
My ear will capture them all like flies.
LAURA RAMOS is a former magazine editor who lives north of Chicago, Illinois. Her work has appeared in Southern Indiana Review, elimae, The Orange Room Review, and The Prose-Poem Project. She teaches writing at StoryStudio North Shore.