Of countless deaths today,
I witnessed two. To witness
any death is to feel desperately
alive. To discern that one’s own
body lingers at the border between
here and not here. To experience
the shockwave of foreboding. To slip
into a moment of groundless grace.
And if you ask, as some do, why
I chose this vocation, this sitting
at the bedsides of the dying, I will
say, because I can. What else sustains
the private love I have for witness
is mystery, even to myself.
First published in slight faith, MoonPath Press.
Risa Denenberg lives on the Olympic peninsula in Washington state where she works as a nurse practitioner. She is a co-founder and editor at Headmistress Press, publisher of LBT poetry. She has published three chapbooks and three full length collections of poetry, including Whirlwind @ Lesbos (Headmistress Press, 2016) and slight faith (MoonPath Press, 2018).
Painting, The Last Message, by William Hatherell.