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If Not Hope, Then Grace - Samantha Duckworth

Searching for something misplaced in youth: a little love, a pocket of hope, the day you will die.

All of the times you chose beauty over wisdom or sleep instead of talk. There is only loneliness at 3am, even when you’re in a loud car filled with people who say they care, but only want what is in your pocket.

Dole it out slowly, the love and the hope and the wishes for a better life. Your mother snatches it up, your sisters try to give you some of theirs, but they will demand repayment with interest.

If your pockets are empty, or contain only crumbs look to the corners of your bedroom. It grows on the branches of trees overhanging the place where you sleep.

Learn to swim underwater, make sure to take care of your breath. Hold on to the rope that pulls you beneath the waves. In that dark place without any air it is warm and soft, a trick that will kill you early.

Regrets are in the shadows, but also salvation. If not hope, then grace. The materials of forgiveness and peace, the only things that matter so deep underwater.

When you ascend, it will be dark, but your heart will be full instead of your pockets. These reminders that you are alive.


Samantha Duckworth is an exhausted mother to two children who would be even more haggard without the reprieve of writing poetry and fiction. She drinks one cup of coffee each day at 5am and meditates diligently while waiting for words to arrive. Former librarian, current IT manager, forever lover of the written word. Firm believer in screen time, deep breathing, hot baths, and the inviolability of trees. She is working on a memoir about how her father was killed by a drunk driver and the subsequent unraveling of her family. This is her first foray into publication.



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