I Am the Hope

Poem by Rhina P. Espaillat

I am the hope that brought you to this day,
the flightless “thing with feathers” that just may
tell you the truth, for once, although by now
you’ve guessed I’d rather not, or don’t know how.
But I know you—your wry, obsessive games—
and you know me, behind my scrim of names,
my eagerness to please, my lack of spine:
the arms that can’t quite shield you, those are mine,
and mine the word you trust, lie after lie.
I am the last to turn and say goodbye.