that thing with feathers

Hope is the thing with feathers.
— Emily Dickinson

You see it
and then you don't,
and then you catch another glimpse
often in places unexpected.

It lands,
tentatively at times,
as if uneasy and looking for a way out...

You hold your breath and inch closer,
and just when you think you can gently take hold of it,
it's gone again—
leaving as swiftly and mysteriously as it arrived.

But you know it's still close,
perched somewhere nearby.

You hear its song,
catch glimpses of its shadow,
find traces of feathers blowing in the breeze...

Its song is subtle,
It is beautiful and haunting
and your heart finds it familiar, though it can't quite place it—
but without a doubt, you know you've heard it before
even though you can't sing along.

The thing about hope having feathers is this:
It can fly away—
and it will.

But it can also return,
and hope's song tells you:

It will.