In hell this hope conceived

I see you sitting, like
a stone, and know you find
my hope obscene.
And–except for this–

I would agree that
hope thrown around with all the
weight of a feather–however sincere–
is a hollow void.

But here, listen
and I will tell you the
truth of how it was born
and from where it comes,

then you may
decide its goodness–
or not–and how much
my word is worth.

You see, I have kissed the
searing gates of Hell, pressed
up hard against them; my body
now burned and scarred.

In Hell this hope conceived;
in depths of sorrow void of light,
the seed of despair
joined the seed of longing

in the womb of my soul
where it grew and
stretched out in a wounded,
wide-eyed knowledge of truth.

A violent hope, alive,
now breathes in me
in full awareness of the torment
of despair and the beauty of grace.

This hope, birthed in darkness
and baptized with tears, is
here, in my hand–
my friend: a gift for you.

©stephanie pepper, 2019

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