Two Poems by Cheryl Baldi


An envelope of medicine arrives, then another with oxygen tanks, rubber sheets, a wheelchair, which we hide, because we’re not ready for this. By noon more meds, and we lose track of what needs to be kept cool, what to give her when, labeling and sorting pills into baskets. She asks for ham salad but the bread’s stale, and we’re out of juice. The oxygen tank, too close to the wall, overheats and shuts down. The kitchen fills with strangers—a hospice nurse, aide, a neighbor who walks in and suddenly looks scared, though not as scared as the rest of us. Phones keep ringing, a friend orders food for us—Can you please come pick it up? Then the doorbell–two men with a hospital bed we said we didn’t want. By 10 PM everyone’s left, and we forgot to get medihoney, and Cindy’s stuck on the sofa, too weak to walk, too weak even to stand, and she needs to pee, so we lift her, drag her up three stairs to the wheelchair and wheel her to her bed. I don’t know how to do this.



The moon over the bay
          just before dawn. I wait
for the light to change,

          for the moon to fade,
disappear into blue. If only
          I could preserve

this moment, place it
          in a memory jar
with sea glass, a gold thimble.

          How else to remember a life?
Memory and its fragments
          always elusive,

even my grief, no matter
          the hold I have on it,
that, too, slipping away.


Poet, teacher, and editor, Cheryl Baldi is the author of the Shapelessness of Water (Kelsay Books, 2018) and a former Bucks County Poet Laureate. Her work has appeared widely including in One Art: a journal of poetry and Philadelphia Stories. She divides her time between coastal New Jersey and Bucks County where she volunteers for the Bucks County Poet Laureate Program and the Arts and Cultural Council.

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