Of Countless Deaths

Poem 9 ±

Of countless deaths today,
I've witnessed three. 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 shock wave of foreboding. To slip
into a moment of groundless grace.

And if you ask, as many do, why
I chose this job, this charge of sitting
by the bedsides of the dying, I will
only say, because I can. What else survives
the secret love I have for the act
of witness is mystery, even to myself.

Risa Denenberg is the author of A Slight Faith_, forthcoming in 2018 from MoonPath Press. She lives on the Olympic peninsula in Washington state where she works as a nurse practitioner. She is an editor at Headmistress Press, an independent publisher of books of poetry by lesbians._