Hope is the Coolest Girl at the Party and We All Wanna Be Her
Hope, what is there to say about you that hasn’t already been said?
How you are the best dancer on the floor.
The way you are dressed like everyone’s Kelly Kapowski dream girl.
And your chunky boots kiss the floor as you sway.
How even the carbonation in your drink bubbles matching the beat of the song you requested.
How everyone who lays eyes on you thinks “I could be like that too.”
How you spin off the dance floor the second I look away.
Hope, it is not that I need you to get something for me. It is that I need you to believe I can get it
for myself. Hope, just tell me goodness sticks and sometimes blooms.
I ask around the party if anyone has seen you. And I am just a little desperate.
And Envy tells me they saw you whispering in the kitchen with Revenge.
Loneliness tells me no, you have snuck off to the bathroom with Love.
Shame tells me you are passing a bottle back and forth on the roof with Freedom, slowly
shrugging your jacket off.
But, Melancholy tells me you are warming by the bonfire, snuggled up to Joy under an extra
How I look and check and don’t find.
And just when I think it is time to get my coat and head out,
I look down to find we are already holding hands.
You, dragging me into the sweaty, swinging crowd.
Lips against my ear, assuring me you always have room on your dance card for my name.
Sighing, “Please let’s stay a little longer. The party isn’t over yet.”
mischpacha (or family)
I want to write a love letter to the crumbs on gramma’s kitchen table
To the over-creamcheesed, lox-laden bagels we had for breakfast
To all the cookies the women keep inching toward me
When scarcity stripes your DNA
Maybe you know better how to keep your loved ones full
I want to write a love letter to the dress my great grandmother wore
For days at a time
How sometimes I feel I am wearing it now
Like maybe it’s my inheritance, a dirtied and tattered birthright
I want to write a love letter to the salt
That my great grandfather scattered on his first stack of pancakes
Shocked by their newness
And their sweetness unknown
I want to write a love letter to the way my great uncle leans over
To teach me the Yiddish word for shit
As he tells me it’s what they used to see sold
On the rampant streets of Chicago
I want to write a love letter to my gramma slipping money to my pappa
Under the table, on one of their first dates
When she knew he couldn’t afford the place
Romance sometimes disguises itself as a practical pocketbook
I want to write a love letter to the full sour pickles
Homemade and fermenting in the fridge
Safe in their brine and perpetually ready for noshing
This place will never spoil
I want to write a love letter to the questions
How do you return to a homeland that ran you out
How do you return to a language purposely forgotten
A love letter to loss and abundance
Mostly, a love letter to us, going on and on and on
Around gramma’s kitchen table
Chloe Adams (she/her) is a poet and educator residing in the Bay Area of California. She writes creative nonfiction about mental health, navigating romance, and exploring familial identity through both her Jewish and American Southern heritage. Chloe has been previously published in Free Verse Revolution and has upcoming work in Querencia Press. You can connect with her further at @chloes1amwrites on Instagram.