For Jon

What we owe each other

The vacated bed where his body lies
lifeless makes us wild.  Wails echo
in the empty room.  Human remains
unravel as fragments of undone tasks 
swallow what meager breath we sustain. 

In this, Jesus was wrong. The dead cannot 
take up the shovel. World goes on without
them, or perhaps even the world dies,
that is not for us to know. So be at peace.
We will not leave you to bury your dead alone. 


My chapbookImage, dedicated to Jon Greenberg, is now available on Amazon. The cover is a photo taken by Thomas McGovern at Jon’s funeral and I have used some of Jon’s journal entries written during 1992.

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2 Responses to For Jon

  1. Mark says:

    Dear Risa,
    Thank you for this very special insight, a gift from you, and Jon. There’s nothing like a story that must be told that is true and hard, delivered beautifully and directly. I understand every word and meaning and am a witness too of ‘What we owe each other’. Love pours over and out of your fountain of life. We are sustained in the memory and willing to live on life’s precarious edge with the words you speak, so sensitive and smart, delicate and personal. You give me strength. Because we’re all in this together, Jon and all our loved ones who are gone, are here in your work. It is comforting and it is real, unique and loving. I continue to mourn your loss as you have all of ours along with your own. My dearest poet on the emerald peninsula, Jon’s swimming in kelp forests and flying through the rain-forest canopy. You are the poet.

  2. Congratulations on your chapbook. It is on my list after I get through my current stack. You express grief well.

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