For Japhy (and Mani and Bella and Ripley)

January 13, 2020

Terry Tempest Williams said,

“Women blessed with death-eyes are fearless.”


I put on a pot of black tea

and look down at the face

looking up at me,

full of life but so fragile

as the system fights disease,

I listen to every sound the

body makes, every movement,

to make myself aware

of the progression, where

the sickness has settled and

where it will go next and

how long it might be.


I pour the tea.

I fry the eggs.

I do The Work.

I do not fear what comes next.

I have been here before

enough times to know that

whichever force wins—

life, or death—

I am bound by my promise

to bear witness to the life

before me now,

to participate in the beauty

—and the suffering—

of the world.


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