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Risa Denenberg

Risa Denenberg

slight faith

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Risa Denenberg was born in Washington DC in 1950 and has lived in Miami & Tallahassee Florida, New York City, and rural Pennsylvania prior to moving to the Pacific Northwest in 2008. She is a nurse practitioner who has worked for more than four decades in diverse health care settings including women’s health, HIV/AIDS, chronic pain, and hospice and palliative care. She volunteers with End of Life Washington, the advocacy group that supports Washington state’s Death with Dignity Law.

Denenberg reviews poems for the American Journal of Nursing and is a cofounder and editor at Headmistress Press, an independent publisher of books of poetry by lesbians. She is the author of three chapbooks and two prior full-length poetry collections, Mean Distance from the Sun (Aldrich Press, 2014) and Whirlwind @ Lesbos (Headmistress Press, 2016).

She currently lives with her cat, Bo, in a place of stunning beauty on the Olympic peninsula. From her writing desk, she looks out at Discovery Bay and, on a clear day, she can see Mount Baker in the distance. She enjoys yoga, cooking, drawing, and reading.

slight faith: $15.00

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Poem from slight faith

Abiding Winter

How we made it through another winter’s
not the question. Nor is it an answer
since one of us was left behind in winter.
 
In Spring, in buoyancy, you asked a question.
Cups stood their ground between us, tea and coffee.
You wished to be the answer to your question. 

Then winter comes again and yet another,
a darkling season full of melancholy. The yanking
of my soul back to the gutter, that other

place where questions have no answers,
and answers only placate. It takes rafters
of steadfast faith, or mettle, to seek answers.

Truth is brutal. So much we can’t recover,
years I’ve begged for you to wait for Spring to bloom
again, living in despair beside each other, and another
 
stormy season while we tussle for an answer
or a coda to the sum of all of life’s bother.
I’ve learned to hold my tongue, to question
nothing. Questions are another sort of winter.