Poetically Yours - Ep. 13 - Rockford Poet Is Feeling The Impact Of COVID-19

Oct 30, 2020

Welcome to WNIJ's Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours showcases poems by northern Illinois poets. This week's poem is by Cheryl Sheinman. 

Cheryl Sheinman.
Credit Photo provided by Cheryl Sheinman.

Sheinman is a teacher and dialogue facilitator. Being a graduate of Jungian and archetypal psychology, she writes about bringing consciousness to our social landscape via pieces on voice, justice, trauma, death and dying, gun violence and authentic dialogue. 

She enjoys tennis, swimming, snow skiing, art, literature, design and fashion. Sheinman said she appreciates nature and the flora and fauna of the Forest City. A recent transplant from Miami, Florida to Rockford, she survived the Illinois winter of 2019, learning to move like a penguin on the ice!

Sheinman is also working on her memoir.

Sheinman writes about COVID-19 in her poem "Gasping for Air...in COVID Care."

Where or where, where

is my Becky?  My wife, my

love, my beautiful Becky… her

light blue eyes and

soft grey curls, her

skin, so familiar, like a graft off

my own, feels like home.

I need her now, I need

to see her face, her

doleful eyes looking

back at me, reflecting my

despair, my descent, my

demise, The decree…

coming for me

like a suffocating specter.

I need her hand to

hold, a tether to a

life raft that will lift me

up and into her 

breathable boat. A

boat where air,

like water, just flows.

Who are these people

that look like aliens?

These health “care”

workers with covered faces,

gloved hands and crinkly capes

hovering over me? Turning me,

placing me prone, bringing me back to

breath that was once just

given, breath that came easy.

Are they angels here

to shepherd me to there? They

are kind, these faceless strangers,

but where is my mother?

Where are you mom? I need

you now, I need you so badly. I

need you to tell me everything’s

going to be alright. To look at me

in the way that only a

mother can, the way a

mother looks at a son and

knows, the way a son looks

back and is met by that

knowing. Cradled in your gaze, I

am less alone, held by your watch-

fullness over me.

But you can’t be here now and

I already know that it’s not alright,

but want to hear it anyway

and from you, that

the pain will lessen, that

it will all be over soon.

And Becky. I long for

her hand in mine, her eyes to soothe

me to sleep, her voice to tell

me it’s ok to let go and

the touch of her bare

skinned hand to

bring me back.

Back to where

I’m headed, back

home to breath

once instilled in me

automatic, effortless, recurring

and given out for free.

  • Yvonne Boose is a 2020 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.