I didn’t post my last poem because, well, who wants to write their last poem?
I have tried to personally thank everyone who contributed to Tupelo Press during August to sponsor my 31 poems in 31 days. But I am still looking for someone. LS, if you read this, send me your mailing address so I can send you a copy of my book as a thank you! My email is risaden [at] gmail [dot] com. If anyone else contributed that hasn’t heard back from me, it means I didn’t hear about it, so please contact me.
It was a wonderful month of writing during which I also did workshops at Centrum’s Port Townsend Writers’ Conference with the fabulous Cate Marvin and the astonishing Arthur Sze. I feel my own work flourish and improve whenever I spend time with other poets.
I feel so fortified by and grateful to the poets and poetry-lovers who have supported me over years with feedback, mentoring, by reading and critiquing my poems, by the hands of friendship that have been extended to me, by the sense of community knowing other poets has given me. Thank you doesn’t begin to express the depth of my gratitude.
Lessons for dying
Like a midwife, I sit and count
breaths until they stop.
I lean on the memory of rehearsal
as witness, as shepherd.
I embrace and say the soothing
words that must be said.
They are all nearby, the ones that
matter. It hurts to watch them lose her.
How to describe her face, alive, now dead.
Her words forever fixed in glass.
Soon, I’ll see her everywhere, guarding
words she cannot utter.
They are grateful I have come to sit with them.
As for me, I’ve lost the myth of shelter.
I do not unearth meaning.
I do not know how to pray.