The only way to have hope—how can it be?—

is to walk into the streets not as a beggar,

not as one crushed to a shadow, holding

a cup, begging for bread or a place to stand,

but to walk like a man in a parade, pockets

full of candy to toss to children as you pass,

as if lit from within, as if joy were

a friend you can call on any time, even

days you’re too sad to dress

or untangle your hair.

Pull on

a bright shirt and walk out as if

heading to joy’s house for tea and a chat.

Joy may still turn you from her door that day,

but I know hope will catch up with you, hook

her arm through yours and match your stride

even if neither of you

can speak.

Naomi Thiers grew up in California and Pittsburgh, but her chosen home is Washington-DC/Northern Virginia. She is the author of three poetry collections: Only The Raw Hands Are Heaven (WWPH), In Yolo County, and She Was a Cathedral (both Finishing Line Press.) Her poems, fiction, and essays have been published in Virginia Quarterly Review, Poet Lore, Colorado Review, Grist, Sojourners, and other magazines. Former poetry editor of Phoebe, she works as an editor for Educational Leadership magazine and lives in a condo on the banks of Four Mile Run in Arlington, Virginia.

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