Katherine Munro

kjmunro Why Are You Alive

Why Are You Alive?

Katherine J. Munro

About the artist:

Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Katherine Munro now lives in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. She is a membership secretary for Haiku Canada and an associate member of the League of Canadian Poets. She has two leaflets with Leaf Press and co-edited Body of Evidence: A collection of killer ‘ku, an anthology of crime-related haiku.


About the artwork:


“Years after emergency surgery that saved my life, graffiti poses the question I still can’t answer….This photograph was taken in the winter of 2002 in Vancouver. I was walking downtown on a visit to that city when the words caught my eye. This became the title of a prose piece–“Why Are You Alive?“–that appeared in the More Voices feature of Pulse, but also stands alone as a thought-provoking question.”

Visuals editor:

Sara Kohrt

Why Are You Alive?

It was the last evening of July, the summer I turned sixteen. I lay on a hospital bed on my left side, looking across the empty bed beside mine toward the window and the waning sunshine. The window was cranked open as far as its hinge would allow, wide open to the summer city evening–faraway traffic noise an undercurrent to the waves of hot pavement smell and the increasing music of a cooling breeze. I was floating in an ether of fever. Leaves rustled as beech trees shook off the heat of the day. Sparrows chirped. Relief! Respite! Perhaps the window was closed.
I was drowsy from anesthesia and a multitude of drugs–gifts that would eventually restore me. Recovering from surgery and my ruptured appendix in this plain, blue-green room, I was to learn about pain and the medicines that are married to it.
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