The Hope Within

You’d never know it by looking at my hands

roots of blue veins trailing

but dreams flutter here

hummingbirds hovering over these keys.

Dare I tell you?

I saw him staring

the shaven-head solider

still a boy in his mother’s eyes

Mine, too.

The leg crunches hardening belly into aluminum washboard–

that Aunt Cil used to scrub dirt from Lon’s socks

–yawned him.

On the third mile of a walk that took me nowhere

I caught him staring

He smiled that grin that boys give women their mama’s ages

But I saw past the smile, to the wincing

He thinks my dreams vanished

with the eggs I once plopped

with the routine of assembly line chocolates.

Dare I tell him?

She tilts her slinky neck back

stretching her ostrich chin

This will give you Gumby skin

won’t wrinkle

Try it, she says.

But I know only surgery can fix what ails her now

Seeing her mama’s face falling

pantyhose whose elastic has come undone.

In the rearview mirror

she sees me the way she wants to remember me

through blue eyes


Of walking into the doctor’s office

seeing a farmer with the book suspended

four inches from the nose that he got from his daddy’s

not his mama’s side of the family.

So lost he doesn’t look up

doesn’t notice when the nurse calls out my name

it is the same one on the spine

Of the book he is reading.

About Karen Spears Zacharias

Author. Speaker. Journalism Instructor. Four kids. Three dogs. One grandson.

  • Rose Marie Morton

    That is beautiful.

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      Appreciate that, RMM.

  • katdish

    Dang. That’s just good.

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      Thanks girl. Kind words.

  • AF Roger

    An you claim not to write poetry? It is April, though. You know what month April is?

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      I do indeed.
      National Poetry Month.

  • James Williams

    Very moving, Karen. Thanks for this.

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      Thanks for saying so, JW.

  • Eleanor

    I love this, and I am not a poetry person. Beautiful imagery, Karen.

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      I’m not a poetry person, either, Missy. Just a hack with a bent for the daring. Glad you love it.

  • Jeanne Damoff

    Very nice! This called me back for several re-reads. Brava, ma’am.

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      Thanks, girl.

  • Steve Taylor

    And in the spaces of in-between
    Where the words run across pages like ants
    Journeys begin in once hollow spaces
    and empty air is suddenly filled…
    Yes, dare, Sister, dare.

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      Of course you would be daring me. As in double-dawg daring, right? :)

      • Steve T

        Didn’t know there was another kind.

  • Debbie

    So hauntingly beautiful and I feel like this was a real event as well…was it? Is your Mama ok?

    @Steve…you are a word dancer of excellence…I really like what comes out of your hummingbird flights over the keyboard too.

    • Karen Spears Zacharias

      Mama is fine, Debbie, thanks for asking. Just some thoughts that ran across my mind…

      • Debbie

        Good to know. I caught mama’s comment on a previous blog so I kinda figured she must of been ok…so wow…your words still painted a picture that seemed so real to me.

    • Steve T

      Debbie, you are kind. Thank you. Hard not to find a bit of creative energy with Karen stirring the water … and our souls.

      • Debbie

        She is like that…:)