The opposite of despair

Poets are hard.
To talk to them,
I have to get honest,
drop some of the drama,
hush the pious certainties,
and most of all,
turn the gaze away from myself.
I have to look at the people.
And the people —
the old bent man with
memories, now dying in the cold.
The swollen lips of a Greek girl
about to be kissed
by an American.
A garden of vanishing lilies,
then, above, a hummingbird,
flitting away.
The opposite of despair is not hopefulness
but lies,
the lies that say
we can’t possibly look at it all,
walk toward it all,
without breaking.


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Simone Grace Seol