If Nothing Else

I once thought love is the mightiest
word but now I think perhaps the mightiest word
is hope. Oh, we love so freely, and with abandon. 
We are so prodigal with our love. But hope 
is the stubborn fortitude of the bud 
holding on through frost and ice. 
It’s the steadfastness of tree roots 
carrying nutrients to the trunk and branches
of the tree, though its bark and branches 
are already alight with lightning strike
or forest fire. 

Oh, I want to be a vessel for the sap.
I want to be a seed 
in the sharecropper’s hand.
I want to be the jellied eggs 
of the spadefoot toad
there tucked in the shaded patch 
of the puddle, and waiting—
in this drought-stricken land—waiting for

Or, if nothing else remains, I want to be
that faint flame—cupped 
in your hands—coaxed
to life with your breath.

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