In her poem “Choreography”, interfaith chaplain Rebecca Doverspike dances from wind, pines, and leaves, to the mental workings of an elderly patient. The juxtaposition of naturalist imagery in the first half of the narrative and the poignant activity of the elderly man’s ponderings in the second half, even in the tragedy of his flesh failing, presents readers with an soulful poem of heart-rending beauty.
Choreography The pines are making a ritual of the wind and the body storms against the body everything trembles, small leaves attached to thin branches, others flutter dried along the ground. Maybe thousands as movement fills my field of vision entire small apocalypse in every patch of dirt— in the hospital, a man droops off his wheelchair liquid drips from his mouth as he tells me his love for 17th century Dutch art, mostly the blue of it. So I picture bowls sitting inside his bent body, their blue light somehow healing. Sometimes he is paranoid and I gently reassure, other times he says to me: I watched the World Cup one afternoon and it was not soccer; it was magic.
Rebecca holds an MDiv from Harvard Divinity School, and an MFA from West Virginia University. Her chapbook, Every Present Thing a Ghost, was published by Slapering Hol Press in 2019. Other poems and reviews can be found in Peripheries, Ruminate, Midwest Review, Valley Voices, Leveler, Diagram, Tupelo Quarterly, and elsewhere. She grew up in Wisconsin and lead a group at a local Zen Center on Arts as Spiritual Practice, and is currently working on a full-length poetry collection centering on chaplaincy before and after the pandemic.