A Journal of Poetry and Kindred Prose

Risa Denenberg

is an aging hippy currently living in Seattle, Washington.

She earns her keep as a nurse practitioner. Her poems have appeared online at Mudlark, Soundzine, and Exercise Bowler.

—Back to Orsorum Contents/Issue Links—


By eighteen, she was a canvas so prized,
the heist was predestined. Stolen
to claim and hide with the same stroke.

Buried under burnt sienna and titanium
white, she became a ruined masterpiece,
a tarnished imitation.

Forty years of marriage and the thief dies.
She scrubs and scours, digging out
from the uncertainty of survival.



Stains of livingrotten teeth, corneous nails,
purple pupura surrounding bottle-green bruises,
spidery capillaries mounting nose and cheeks,
gummy age-spots, cloudy sclera.

In chilly weather, deep in Florida, iguanas fall
from trees. Nothing holds us to this earth.
We are smudges on carelessly washed urns.



Fungiform papillae gone awry; barren
buds; misplaced sweet and bitter. Doctors speak
of etiologieszinc deficiency, Bell’s palsy.
But it’s the same old sawthis onslaught
of losses. Life loses flavor, it’s simmered too long
and thinned with old stew bones wanting
marrow. The gruel served in this place
lacks seasonings, a pity after so many
seasons. And yet I eat greedily,
placing sugar crystals on my tongue.