us from the heat of the land of blue Aegean, olives and ouzo to
the austerity of a convent’s blue serge, hymns and rosary
beads, Betsy Snider unveils the belief that “hope is a muscle.”
Through doubts, family secrets and lost love, these moving poems
show there is always a chance for resurrection. Hallelujah!"
— Kyle Potvin, author of Sound Travels on Water.
"Often wrought with precise detail, in straightforward and
deeply felt language, her poems are suffused with yearning—for
a lover, for heat, for Greece, for the sensuous life—as
she suffers the silence of both God and love, and struggles to
choose between a loss of freedom and freedom’s risks. Revealing
a seemingly indefatigable inner life, Snider’s poems do
not shrink from pain or despair, and yet hope keeps returning,
a “muscle” that flexes like wings to resurrect us
time and again."
— Alice B. Fogel, New Hampshire Poet Laureate, author of
Interval: Poems Based on Bach’s ‘Goldberg Variations,
and Be That Empty.
Hope Is a Muscle
The memory of God
cleaves to the roof of my mouth.
Prayers gather behind my tongue,
deep in the throat.
Canaries in the mine of my soul.
Dreams confound me.
Disembodied lovers sing soundlessly
into the bone of my ear,
wrapped like cotton batting
around the cage of my heart.
I talk to no one about the albatross.
I do not wish my parents alive.
I bear the burden of my brother
alone in silence and waiting.
I am Mary at the foot of the cross.
Waiting for death.
Waiting for release.
Waiting for resurrection.
Hope is a Muscle