by Tony Hoagland

This year Marie drives back and forth

from the hospital room of her dying friend

to the office of the adoption agency.

I bet sometimes she doesn’t know

what threshold she is waiting at –

the hand of her sick friend, hot with fever;

the theoretical baby just a lot of paperwork so far.

But next year she might be standing by a grave,

wearing black with a splash of

banana vomit on it,

the little girl just starting to say Sesame Street

and Cappuccino latte grande Mommy.

The future ours for a while to hold, with its heaviness –

and hope moving from one location to another

like the holy ghost that it is.