Staying

by Bena Ruth King

Flight deferred demands a forthright reason
For man to hover above earth, once
Fettered to the ground
In all season, rooted
To the place where given birth. No peach
Blossoms on his brow, but burning
Roads of no returning.
The stench of breathing
Forces silence in the room. Perhaps
An angel walked in here to stay the
Gloom, to place a pillow there,
To reach for hope.

How like death to force the wait on us.
Who closes eyes that wish to close?
Or speeds or slows the pulse
Of blood through veins? Who
Can tap into tomorrow for lack
Of strength? How impossible to die! To
Keep from trying, we simply
Hold his hand, to
Stay the dying.


In another era, Bena Ruth King might have been a Victorian poet, clipping baskets of roses while musing on metonyms and meter; instead, she was born in 1983 and whispers poetic inclinations to the corn.


Photography by Kenneth Godoy

One thought on “Bena Ruth King: Staying”

  1. This is an excellent treatment of a subject that is easy to maudlin-ize. And a gentle ending that doesn’t hide the bitterness. I’ve been in an identical room, and I say you nailed it.

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