by Risa Denenberg


Elders have stopped reading the news. We dream
            of serious play down on our knees—
cat’s eyes, jacks, the kiss that’s for keeps.
           
We know spring will come again and again, but not for us. 
            We fill pauses with baskets of laundry
and potsful of soup. We can’t reassemble the bones

of our dead or carry chrysanthemums to the cremated.
            We read the old cryptic texts on how
to greet aging. Should we speak or wire our mouths shut?

We prepare for endings, try to be thankful. 
           We nap in the afternoon.
We’ve already witnessed the future, while time lags behind. 

The whole lot must be coursework
            for something else—
the way the body is water, yet manages not to seem so.

The way an egg could feed a child
           or beget a chicken.
It barely matters now. Still, on that morning,

I hope to wake in my own bed, softly
            wrapped in the praxis
of long having known this day would come.

Then, let my fresh carbon mingle with the coal of my ancestors.


RISA DENENBERG lives in on the Olympic peninsula in Washington state, where she works as a nurse practitioner. She is a co-founder and editor at Headmistress Press and curates The Poetry Café, an online meeting place where poetry chapbooks are celebrated and reviewed. She has published sixcollections of poetry, most recently, slight faith (MoonPath Press, 2018). Her forthcoming chapbook, Posthuman, was the finalist for the 2020 Floating Bridge chapbook contest.  For more information: risadenenberg.com


Featured Photo: “Death” by Therese Trinko