, ,

Hope is the thing with feathers.

Hope is a kind of planning.


In middle school, my favorite thing to wear was a ragged navy blue sweatshirt

with brightly colored orange letters that spelled out HOPE.

I was told it was college somewhere.

I had found it at Goodwill–

it was comfortable

and kept me warm.

I cut holes in the wrists so I could

poke my thumbs through.

That was fifteen years ago.

Upon reflection,

I would say I had more confidence then,

when I hadn’t yet grasped what my place was in society.

Listen: white, lower-middle-class Midwestern girl goes to

small liberal arts college,

obtains bachelors degree in Theatre/Dance.

Takes the occasional Women’s Studies class.

Gets jazzed.

Feminism starts as a toy,

becomes a necessity.

Girl/woman treks out to the West

serves with AmeriCorps,

gets a job working for a non-profit that champions

“Women Authoring Change.”

Feminism becomes a mandate.

Hope as well.

Although often the youngest at the table,

she/I takes note, takes hope.

Envisioning the time

when she has the right/write words to say

when the conversation gets heated.

When people don’t want to identify with feminism

when they discard it,

declare it unnecessary,

“We’ve come so far, why is this even still an issue?”


Hope sputters a little on the inside,

takes a deep breath

and whispers,

“Well, we may have come so far, but we still have so far to go. Step forward and raise your voice.  It has value.”


If you fan them in the right way,

sparks become flames.


Hope is a kind of planning.

Hope is the thing with feathers.