The one who is in love
waiting for a phone call from the beloved.
The one who interviewed
waiting for an offer.
The sick and suffering
waiting to recover.
The prisoner
waiting to be freed.
All in the expectation that
something is coming, its arrival
an inevitable conclusion.
Unless it doesn’t.

And the certainty that it will come
becomes maybe it will come, as in
when God is less busy with other customers.
Except that it doesn’t, so maybe it will come becomes
it probably won’t happen
because you don’t want to expect too much
and maybe God will finally glance
your way when you stop tapping his shoulder
and go sit in the corner instead. Except that
he doesn’t, and it probably won’t happen
becomes silence. His and now yours.

To wait for something that won’t ever arrive
is the soul stretched on the rack
ever tightening until something tears.
A friend tells you all prayers are answered in the resurrection,
both beautiful and unbearable under the weight
of all the long hours of all the long days stretching before you.

So you go to the stories living on tissue-thin pages
and mouth the ancient names. Abraham, Sarah, Joseph
waited lifetimes in the space between
chapters that speed us all too quickly toward
a resolution they dragged their way to.
The stories don’t us tell what they thought
during all those days in between, what they cried out,
though our own mouths do, our own thoughts,
the longings we have learned to bury deep
like the thirsty roots of a tree in dry land, not knowing
when the storm clouds gathering will release
all their darkness into quenching rain.

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