Hope
by Angela Gregory-Dribben

Small, seven-years-old,
chewed fingernails dug in,
baby fat of thighs pressed
into thick raised bark, I
scrambled up to a crux.

There
in the split
where lightning divided
one white oak into two.
That is where I waited.

When the air was quiet
I stared at scratches between my legs,
not quite deep enough to bleed.
A thin layer of skin holding back the blood,
my body’s last effort to keep it all in.

Tires against road. The sound
of the car dropping itself low into the curve.
I’d stare so hard into
every long, heavy, blurry block
of olive or grey flying around that corner,
scanning for a flash
of recognizable. I’d know
it when it got here.
Scouring the windshield of each delivery truck
headed to the Colonel’s store,
RC Cola, Sunbeam bread, Smith Seeds.

I hadn’t seen what it was I waited for.
Hadn’t ever found it named,
not even looking through a whole
set of encyclopedias. But its skin
already tugged at my skin. Sometimes
so strong that I had to run down the road
towards somewhere out there
where it might be or else
I thought my skin’d tear right off my bones.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 23, Issue 2.

Angela DribbenAngela Gregory-Dribben’s poetry and essays can be found or are forthcoming in Main Street Rag, Deep South, San Pedro River Review, Crab Creek Review, Crack the Spine, New Southern Fugitive, and others. A Bread Loaf alum, she is currently a student in Randolph College’s MFA.

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