How to Be Sad: Poetry by Risa Denenberg

How to Be Sad

If you listen without language, you may hear
my grandfather playing Brahms on the cello,
grunting every now and then with the effort
of an old man soon to die. He played for me

that spring I lay sick with pneumonia.
I was nine and lonely for my mothership,
her planets and galaxies preparing me
for a life of stargazing and solitude.

Although at times I say too much, there is much
I will never say.  If you are sad, go to the ocean.
There, is music. Lay your tongue aside, listen.
May you hear the stillness between breakers.


Risa Denenberg is a nurse practitioner and poet with five published poetry collections. She is a cofounder and editor at Headmistress Press, an independent publisher of poetry by lesbians.  Her collection “slight faith” is forthcoming in May 2018 from MoonPath Press.

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