From a glance at its title, we might expect Stuart Kestenbaum’s poem “Perhaps This Is the Way My Life Will End” to be a little dark. But the poem’s speaker conjures a surprising gentleness and light as he imagines his own demise – an ending that feels more like an opening, like an infinite and luminous belonging.

Stuart Kestenbaum is the author of five collections of poems, most recently “How to Start Over” (Deerbrook Editions, 2019), and a collection of essays “The View from Here” (Brynmorgen Press). He’s the host of the Maine Public Radio program “Poems from Here” and the host/curator of the podcast Make/Time. He was appointed Maine’s poet laureate in 2016.


Perhaps This Is the Way My Life Will End

By Stuart Kestenbaum


I will find myself

walking down a hidden lane.


The spring rain

will have just ended


and I will smell the fertile earth.

I have never been


this present before.

My bones know


that I am home.

My teeth unclench.


Once I could fly kites so high

that they disappeared into another day.


Once I stared at a crystal bowl

dividing the light into


the unseen colors of the world.

Something is soaring


inside me or outside of me.

I can’t tell which.


Megan Grumbling is a poet who lives in Portland. Deep Water: Maine Poems is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. “Perhaps This Is the Way My Life Will End” copyright © 2019 by Stuart Kestenbaum. It appears by permission of the author.

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