SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

Hope by Sarah Freligh

She was blonde and freckled—that, I remember, and how

spraddled she sat, pregnant belly ballooning

over spread legs. This from a time in my life

when I’d pocket my lunch tips and stop by a bar

where old guys argued about the batting averages

of ballplayers I’d never heard of. Pigs’ feet floated

in a clear jar and peanuts were free, TV tuned

to a talk show where the freckled blonde

said she cried whenever someone asked boy

or girl?, and if it was her first. Her baby

was dead, nothing but a dark stone in the gut

of the x-ray machine but still another month

of lugging around that coffin before she gave

birth and buried the kid. I remember the man

next to me whispered Jesus, less an expletive

than a prayer for what he’d never have

to endure, and I think of him and her

when I think about hope as a seed

of something that maybe might not be.


Sarah Freligh is the author of Sad Math, winner of the 2014 Moon City Press Poetry Prize and the 2015 Whirling Prize from the University of Indianapolis. Her fiction and poetry work have appeared in Sun Magazine, Hotel Amerika, BOAAT Journal, diode, SmokeLong Quarterly, and in the forthcoming anthology New Microfiction: Exceptionally Short Stories (W.W. Norton, 2018). Among her awards are a 2009 poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a grant from the Constance Saltonstall Foundation in 2006.

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