The Cost of Living

smallpox hospital Roosevelt Island IngeVandormael

Photo: Inge Vandormael


She had come to make a new life.

She found illness. She found death.

And life, perhaps, hiding in the shadows

Of her convalescing sorrow,


To take hold.


She had come in search of meaning.

She found a babble of confusion.

Within. Without.

Rising skyward. Buried underground.

She found hope, too. For things she didn’t know

Even had names

But sprouted meaning

In the corners of what she believed

Was ruined,

But had in fact been opened

To allow in the winds of change.


She came seeking answers,

And found the cost

Of living

Paid for little more than added questions,

And that she had to look

Quite closely

At what wasn’t there,

To find

What she did not even know

She had been searching for.




Photo: The old Smallpox Hospital on Roosevelt Island (a narrow island set in the East River between Queens and Manhattan).

For What Pegman Saw: Manhattan Island


16 thoughts on “The Cost of Living

  1. This is sad. For what she was looking for, her life was too short. Or was it because she was on her own? I’m grateful to Alice Miller, Ruth C. Cohn, the Humanistic Psychology, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Marie Luise of Franz and so many others. Bernhard v. Chartres once said that we are dwarves sitting on the shoulders of giants …

    All the best to you


    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Laureen.
      I would like to think that perhaps she found life, even after seeing death and illness and experiencing hardship, and that perhaps out of her confusion rose something more, and a path.
      Yes to all the people you’d listed – so worthy – and many others, too (Estes is a personal favorite!)
      Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Very wonderful and poignant. Thank you, Na’ama. 💚

    Adele Ryan McDowell, Ph.D.

    Liked by 1 person

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