"why I hate to cry" by Risa Denenberg
why I hate to cry
Crying ruins you. — Tommy Orange
I was paging through The New Yorker while the voice on the radio was recalling MLK. Or rather RFK breaking the news of the murder that night to a crowd in Indianapolis. There are statues of MLK and RFK in that city, arms reaching out to one another. Reaching, not touching. I started crying because of the not touching I was feeling at that moment, and then, lounging on the couch with Bo kneading my shoulder, while I’m telling him the story once again of how I brought him home when he was just a bitty thing, and counting — using my fingers — to figure out that he may, possibly, just might, outlive me, if he lives to be 20, as my Jezebel did, and I die at 83 (which seems possible . . . or likely . . . or unavoidable). The chaos in my mind turned to leaving instructions for someone to take care of him. But who will still be here? Then. As I turned the page from reading the story by Tommy Orange where he says crying ruins you, I stumbled smack into the deep almond eyes of Rachel Carson, so clear and wise, and thought, I never look into anyone’s eyes anymore. I look away because, these days, everyone’s eyes seem glassy and distant and dead. I suddenly hear my dad saying to my brother in mean-voice, look me in the eye when you speak to me, and I wonder when I lost the urge, the need, to see eye-to-eye with this world. And when I cry, I’m never sure what for — my dad or MLK, all the corpses, the homeless sleeping under the statue in Indianapolis, the ruined earth, Rachel Carson’s eyes. And that’s why.
Risa Denenberg lives on the Olympic peninsula in Washington state, where she works as a nurse practitioner. She is a co-founder and editor at Headmistress Press, publisher of LBT poetry. She has published three chapbooks and three full length collections of poetry: “Mean Distance from the Sun” (Aldrich Press, 2013), “Whirlwind @ Lesbos” (Headmistress Press, 2016) and “slight faith” (MoonPath Press, 2018).
Photo Credit: Staff