If it comes at all,
     to save what is left of your life,
          it comes as the familiar ghost
               of a hope.

It is an unconsidered thing,
     as old-fashioned as snow in winter,
          as daily as the light you ignore
               until it speaks to you.

In the poor part of town,
     you pass a wretched house, a home,
          the clapboards weathered to apple-green
               peeling to dirty white.

The picket fence in front
     is a crotchety row of sticks.
          On the rotted sill of the window
               snow scrolls against the glass.

In the window
     the lady has hung her lace curtain,
          the net embroidered across the top
               with a floral border.

In this arbor,
     trailing its bridal tail
          over a crochet fence,
               a white peacock stands

to ask in what hope
     of loveliness
          to forgive the suffering
               will you live?

This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 3 Number 7, on page 44
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