Three poems…

written by three friends, each contemplating their mortality. Thank you Mare, Nancy, and Austin

standing on the edge

peering through scrutinizing eyes
barely recognizing the
enormity of life
wondering how it all works
a mind that I just don’t understand
this lithe young body unable to
keep up with long strides of adults
yet deeply knowing something
sunlight warming my long brown hair
breeze gently pulsing behind me
so that I shift and waver
unsure whether I will steady myself
or tip over onto rocky sweet grass
fall into dark beckoning shadows
where demons lurk
 waiting for me to fumble
on the teetering path of my new journey
“I’ll understand when I grow up”
I say to convince myself that I know something
“don’t worry” I reassure this child
not inner yet as I am only a child at all
later on I will revisit her inside my grown self
wondering how she made it this far
aching for her loneliness
for her silent suffering
and knowing
there’s a shooting star in the sky
that I would see if it were night
putting my hand out to catch it
knowing that I would be destroyed beyond belief
yet readying myself to become a vessel
a womb warm and ripe for
nourishing and nurturing
as well as for alien disease and unbearable pain
somehow believing that I will
be okay

mare ellen berman

First light

On the way to Jacksonville airport
at 5:30 in the morning
my brother-in-law asks,
“Are you afraid of death?”
It’s like we are already dead
and he is asking how I like the ride.
Headlights probe the road ahead,
his question hangs suspended,
a sky rocket about to burst;
a flower to bloom;
a baby before first cry.
“I don’t believe in death,” I say.
Inside the car our forms emerge
slowly like a photograph.

Austin Metze

Knowing there was nothing we could do
We had to let her go, so slow the timing, 
I was chiming wine glasses once against 
another, rhyming my brother with my 
sister, talking to mister so and so.
You can’t control what happens. 
You can’t make the fake real 
You can’t steal the sunrise and keep it for
yourself. All the wealth in the world 
won’t suddenly land in your account, 
with any amount of cajoling. I was rolling 
dice, thinking twice and feeling it again.
Snake eyes! Someone cries and I surprise 
myself with the realization. There’s no
Emancipation to be had. We’re all clad in
our birthday suits counting up our loots
and paying up our debts. Any amount of
threats won’t get blood from a stone. 
I’m not alone. You must’ve felt it too. 

Nancy Headepohl