March 11, 2014

Sage Cohen

HOW TO PRAY

I follow two steps behind my son
on the gravel path as he shouts

hello to ducks. The squirrel has lost
a stripe of fur down his back.

I should have married someone else.
A person can die of motherhood.

Even the flame maple’s promises
have stopped sleeping in the house.

He was gone years before he was
gone. First, he shot a doorway

through me, one complaint at a time.
Then he stepped through the place

my body once was and kept going.
He said he wanted to keep

trying, but what did that mean
in the absence of trying?

God, the cherry blossoms are in bloom.
This morning my son made me

an arrangement of flowers shredded
with scissors. I married a man

whose hands were unmade to please me.
I hold the vase like a torch.

from Rattle #41, Fall 2013
Tribute to Single Parent Poets

[download audio]

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Sage Cohen: “Poetry became my scaffolding of self as I moved through divorce into single motherhood. What I could not tolerate, I could witness. Grace became an invention of image and language. Poem by poem, I wrote myself from broken to healing to whole.” (website)