Two Poems by Jennifer L Freed


pulls you close.
You know it too well
to think you can live without it.
You’ve learned
it is a chair that will hold you
up and ask nothing
of you but to live
with it. And so you live

through this spring day, drifting
from bureau to bed,
table to desk, touching
the shirt, the pillow, the cup,
the book; looking
out the window,
your hand on the windowsill, the sun
on your hand. Here is the view
so changed from yesterday. Here

is the blue of the veins in your wrist.
You can do nothing
and are grateful
there is nothing you need to do.
You let yourself sink
into your chair, let
the chair
hold you.



Some days, she chooses not
to eat.
She needs to let absence
fill her body, to move with it, know
that she can.

On the table, fresh strawberries, radiant
in their blue bowl.

Without meals, extra pockets of time
unfold. She turns toward
books, sketch pads, longer walks
with the dog. Hunger swells, fades, swells and fades

By night, stomach growling, she feels surprisingly
strong. She looks forward
to morning, when, standing at the counter, she will inhale
the scent of toasting bread.


Jennifer L Freed lives in Massachusetts. Her poetry has appeared in Atlanta Review, Atticus Review, Rust + Moth, West Trestle Review, The Worcester Review, Zone 3, and other journals. Her poem sequence “Cerebral Hemorrhage” was awarded the 2020 Samuel Washington Allen Prize (New England Poetry Club). She is the author of a chapbook, These Hands Still Holding, a finalist in the 2013 New Women’s Voices chapbook contest, and of a full length collection, When Light Shifts (Kelsay, 2022), based on the aftermath of her mother’s stroke.

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