The Paris Review

Poetry Rx: Pain Will Become Interesting

© Ellis Rosen

Dear Poets,

This year, I have seen so much death. Losing the people I love used to be my biggest fear, but now I have lost so many so quickly that I find myself with a new one. I jump into problem-solving zombie mode every time it happens. There’s so much to do and so many people to take care of. Last week, a poet I knew killed himself. I spent the night comforting every friend he had and, in the middle of comforting, I realized how used to this I had become. I know just the right thing to say or not say, just how long to hold the silence before it had to break. I am an expert at helping others deal with the grief death brings. Now, my biggest fear is that I will get too accustomed to tragedy, to suicides, to death. I am scared of getting used to losing. I am scared of losing all this pain. I don’t ever want to stop feeling. I don’t ever want to get used to it. Is there a poem for it, any words that will stop this from happening?

Too Used to Death 

Dear Too Used to Death,

First let me say how sorry I am

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