HOPE By Raymond Carver
“My wife,” said Pinnegar, “expects to see me go to
the dogs when she leaves me. It is her last hope.”
–D. H. Lawrence, “Jimmy and the Desperate Woman”
She gave me the car and two
hundred dollars. Said, So long, baby.
Take it easy, hear? So much
for twenty years of marriage.
She knows, or thinks she knows,
I’ll go through the dough
in a day or two, and eventually
wreck the car–which was
in my name and needed work anyway.
When I drove off she and her boy-
friend were changing the lock
on the front door. They waved.
I waved back to let them know
I didn’t think any the less
of them. Then sped toward
the state line. I was hellbent.
She was right to think so.
I went to the dogs, and we
became good friends.
But I kept going. Went
a long way without stopping.
Left the dogs, my friends, behind,
Nevertheless, when I did show
my face at that house again,
months, or years, later, driving
a different car, she wept
when she saw me at the door.
Sober. Dressed in a clean shirt,
pants, and boots. Her last hope
She didn’t have a thing
to hope for anymore.