Death's great black wing scrapes the air,
Misery gnaws to the bone.
Why then do we not despair?
-- Anna Akhmatova
"Nevertheless" is what I meant to say
when the worst came down,
after the Scud Missile of pain
struck its target zero in your soul.
"Nevertheless"--a defiant quip
just as the firing squad raises its guns.
It's that storm-battered tree
far above the timberline,
the grin on the face of the homeless outcast,
the salmon's leap against the thundering falls.
"Nevertheless" is the cry I meant to praise
no matter how many haters curse you out,
how many hammers bruise your bones.
It's a death row reprieve at the final hour,
the worm that turns, the impossible comeback,
the incurable healed.
"Nevertheless" befuddles logic, hornswoggles fate.
It's the heroic password I meant to teach you.
The Spirit's anthem.