Later by Cheryl Baldi

LATER

We speak in whispers,
move in silence
from room to room, listen
to the oxygen’s steady pump,
moisture bubbling through the tubes.
Three days unresponsive. I sit with her
until someone else comes in.
Years from now I will remember
these moments, the counter
scattered with crumbs
from half eaten sandwiches,
the tide low, winds calm,
Cormorants still perched
motionless in a line
along the pilings.
At first they seemed an omen,
messengers from the dead,
but I will wonder later
perhaps they were something other,
mournful attendants,
or angels, their black
wings spread wide
against the late day burn.

*

Cheryl Baldi is the author of The Shapelessness of Water and currently is at work on a new manuscript, In the Golden Hour, Cormorants. A former Bucks County Poet Laureate and a graduate of the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers, she was a finalist for the Robert Frasier Award for Poetry and the Francis Locke Memorial Award. She has taught at Bucks County Community College, worked as a free- lance editor, and served as co-facilitator for community-based workshops exploring women’s lives through literature. She lives with her husband in Bucks County, PA and along the coast in New Jersey.