Notes on the Neardeath

a poem by
LIZ RHODEBECK | Mentor + Writer

               Trauma can either destroy you or draw out extraordinary strength. Fellow writer Sandy’s work was profound, though more costly than the rest of our writers group would want to endure. Thankfully, she is still here.

Photo by Siim Lukka

we should call you
as you are risen with stories
of dark tombs of enlightenment;

We are mystified, full of wonder,
yet envious of the urgency with which
you mine the hidden vein,
bleeding the strength of iron
refined by the hot furnace of cancer.

You crawl forth from ambiguous tunnels,
fling off the grave clothes,
as we dare to glance at
eyes blazing with visions
from beneath cool, white sheets;
strive to suck in the chilly
air trailing behind you,
fail to comprehend
the burning in our lungs

as you, alone, count the days.




Mentor + Writer

I am a bit of a loner and also a helper to others. Aside from necessary “work” (and writing, of course), I give much of my time volunteering—lately as our church’s office manager and as a mentor to teen girls in group foster care. The significance of the little moments in life are what intrigue and inspire my poetry. Thus, my eyes are always open to life around me, alert for the unseen wonders. Everything—and everyone—has the potential of being a poem, and revealing truth. 

Enjoy more of Liz’s work on her blog,