They didn’t want to take chances; so they planned for a cesarean and a holiday. Fans and paparazzi arrived from all over, many more than the three or twelve who came to Bethlehem, or the ones who stayed at Karbala. Keats wrote of her bright eyes, Dickinson of the feathers. Souvenir shops stayed open all night.

You’ve heard the story. She grew demanding, asking questions, wrote lesson plans for the chickens to fly over houses, for the fishes to smell the magnolias. Classmates didn’t want her in their squad. She stood on the bleachers cheering both teams long after everyone had gone. She didn’t understand the rules.

When Faith, the last of her siblings, died, Hope’s parlor was packed with grieving cards. Manicured lilies and carnations sitting around gladiolus with their white manteaus. But no one came. Some said the traffic was bad, the speed limit too low, and who would attend to stores and services? The poet friend published an elegy, a eulogy.

One day, someone noticed that it’s dangerous for Hope to live alone. She was better off at a rest home. They had supervision, entertainment, afternoon tea on the porch, bingo on Sunday, and the scouts take the residents for a stroll once a week. The building would be put to better use. It’s a national treasure.

Hope wakes again from someone’s dream. Morning has finished inspecting the rooms. As she proceeds toward the hall where florescent lights began their custodian shift, no one greets her, not even the midwives who attended to her trying birth after the sonogram showed defects in the left-brain.

In the electric kitchen, the bone china platter on the palm of the table serves the reflections of evening news. She isn’t listening. She sits by the window. The wind incites the large green sacks camping overnight on the sidewalk. “I’m sure they’ll come,” she repeats. Billboards dangle like ornaments off the road. “They can’t be gone forever. The dishes need washing.” In the distance, the commuter trains knotted around the stations. Headlights stretched out like pale Christmas lights.