In the pale morning, hope
is a child,         willing to try anything.

At the grocery store,
arrowed aisles, sentries,
sanitizer advertise
the danger of getting
                        too up-close.

Eyes peer over masks—suspicious?
Afraid? Angry?
Hard to tell, but
               hope leaks through feeble cloth.

Do this, don’t do that
wears patience thin as masks.

Home again, safe enough
alone.           Keep busy through
the list of daily do-this, do-that,
Hope slouches in a kitchen chair.

At night, though,
Hope is

About 2 a.m. my mood
drapes itself
over the

Only get through the dark bits.

I sit up, stretch my neck, remember
dawn comes
Let the clock play out.
The seconds— each heart beat
            the fragment
of a long minute.

The birds begin their babble.
An uneasy light
drifts up.
If I’m lucky I sleep.

If not, she yanks me up
in morning’s