It was after a run one day.
Sweaty and stretching, legs pointed out on the floor in a V.
So much pain in this world and when the soul stops to survey it,
it heels, halts, falters, fails.
And God said,
"You will have a daughter,
and you will name her Anna Hope.
You will know that though the darkness seems to swallow,
Hope is stronger."
Not a voice heard with ears
but, oh, a voice heard.
Words dropped inside me
like a pebble in a well shaft.
It was not the time for a child,
not the time to be a mother,
message pondered, stowed.
Two years gone,
and life burgeons inside, stomach swelling.
"It's a girl,"
the ultrasound technician avows
and later, the memory returns like a song.
He had said.
Upon first wake I enter her room,
she is joyful squeal and kicking legs.
This gift of life overwhelms me.
Sorrow waits and springs suddenly -
a beloved uncle stricken with cancer,
a dear friend with marriage ended.
I rock her quietly,
and my eyes flood.
The tears of the living on my cheeks,
the hope of the living in my arms.
They dwell together,
and it is paradox and it is mystery,
and I will not hold lightly
the word that was given -
that Hope, in the end,
"Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope..."