What’s Left Over

Ruth Bavetta ~

One and a half tubes of smörgåskaviar, most
of a jar of blueberry jam, a full jar of lingonberries.
Four sets of blue plaid pajamas–God forbid
I should have gotten him red. Six pairs
of reading glasses, going back
in five-year increments. Hearing-aid
batteries stashed by the lamp.
Three packages of adult diapers.
Our marriage certificate.
The rest of the morphine.

About the poet:

Ruth Bavetta writes at a messy desk in overlooking the Pacific Ocean in San Clemente, CA. Her poems have been published in Rattle, Nimrod, North American Review, Slant, Tar River Poetry, Spillway and elsewhere. Her books are Embers on the Stairs (Moon Tide Press), Fugitive Pigments (FutureCycle Press), Flour, Water, Salt (Futurecycle Press) and No Longer at This Address (Aldrich Press). She loves the light on November afternoons, the music of Stravinsky and the smell of the ocean. She hates pretense, fundamentalism and sauerkraut.

About the poem:

“This poem was born the year my husband died after six months on home hospice. One of the hardest things for me was looking around the house after everything was over and seeing him everywhere.”

Poetry editors:

Johanna Shapiro and Judy Schaefer


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12 thoughts on “What’s Left Over”

  1. An excellent example of the way a good poet can hit a strong emotional chord with just a few well chosen words
    Well done Ruth… and my condolences

  2. Thank you so much, everyone. I appreciate that you took the time to comment. Daniel. You can google me for more poems and my books are available through Amazon. 🙂

  3. Ronna Edelstein

    Ruth, your poem resonated with me. I wrote a similar one about the bedroom in which my beloved father died. Like you, I referred to the “hearing-aid batteries stashed by the lamp.” Every material thing evoked a memory; it was difficult. I wish you well as you move forward in your healing process.

  4. Poignant and beautiful use of concrete detail to convey the passage of time, life in its final stages. Evocative.

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