“How Tiresome” by Rhina P. Espaillat

Rhina P. Espaillat


How tiresome, this dying, not at once,
you think, but incrementally, as year
by year—or, as of late, every few months:
this spate of thefts by those who leave us here.

A lifelong friend takes half your youth, then some
old dear pilfers the rest, and then your spouse
makes off with all the life there was to come,
till nothing’s worth the chores around this house
that you inhabit—that you are. But when
new sprouts throw off the weight of last year’s leaves—
February’s wreckage—it seems right again
to feed and water them. You know they’re thieves,
the young already plotting their goodbye.
Nevertheless you think, Just one more try.

from Rattle #58, Winter 2017
Rattle Poetry Prize Finalist

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Rhina P. Espaillat: “Why do I write? At first, in my native Spanish, I did it for the simple joy of dancing to my own words. Later, in English—the language in which I grasped the not-simple that underlies the music of speech—I learned to write to celebrate what I love, feel my way through experiences I can’t manage to think through, mourn losses, give thanks for what’s left, and prepare for the possible loss of more.”

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