Joanne Zarrillo Cherefko
1 min readApr 26, 2020

Her diagnosis was sudden, obscene

And, most said, surprising,

Evoking familiar and foreign responses


Absence of Mind

Mysteriously appearing doorways

Misplaced objects

Dreams of salvation in Brooklyn

And a deep sense of loss

Before the final act unfolds.

Palliative: what a grotesque word,

Proving Stevens wrong.

Poetry is not the supreme fiction;

Life is —

Life is the all-encompassing myth

Both of the imagination

And the abasement of the imagination.

The universe and its sense of wonder

Must be off balance

To choose one so lovely as Deyann

To be the subject of its mockery.

She glows, she nurtures,

But mostly, she inspires us

To be better than we are.

Not all of us became her disciples

But most of us did. I did.

Various body elements arrange

Their schedule of betrayal

While the heart edits juvenile aesthetics

And revels in martyrdom,

But then a prognosis is shared

And nets descend on imaginary pursuits

While breathing becomes an act of guilt.



Joanne Zarrillo Cherefko

Award-winning educator and published poet: A Consecration of the Wind, Fragmented Roots, and Souls Tilled Like Soil. Website: