By Troon Harrison
Caged in her house, Emily Dickinson wrote hope is
the thing with feathers, and I want to know
whether it’s flying to find me by starlight and lay lines.
Will it nestle its heartbeat into my hands
like a chickadee, bringing just enough
of itself to make the day worth the struggle?
Or is it a hawk, circling into the vastness, out of
the narrow confines of my vision?
In fall, my sky empties of cranes and my mind fills
with faith in April’s power of redemption,
but if hope embarks on a fraught migration,
for how long can I keep on singing in the dark?
Mary Oliver maintains that each body
is a lion of courage and precious to the earth.
Fellow sufferers, your fortitude is gloriously golden;
who wouldn’t admire your roaring will to survive?
I like to imagine every lovely one of us supine in the sun,
brilliant birds weaving feathers through our manes—
one day we will rise, against pain’s gravity.