Kathleen Aguero

Hard Work

Hope springs eternal

but I couldn’t imagine  how hope,

before it gets to that bubbling place,

forces itself through miles of dirt packed hard,

then around, over, under  rocks,

willing itself not to dry up in the desert

or to merge with the sewer of a city street,

waiting for frozen prairie  to thaw,

resisting the warm and mindless absorption

of mud, moss, sand, swamp

until it finds the small trembling

where, welcome or not, it gathers the last of its strength

and breaks through  to the surface

the way a laboring woman, stinking,

exhausted,  summons one last grunt and push

to force the baby into the world

where it takes its first, sharp breath.



I bow my head to the hard work of hope,

let it place its dull and heavy hand upon my neck,

submit to its dour blessing,

begin its thankless, necessary pilgrimage.

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