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