March 11, 2014

Sage Cohen


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


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.” (web)

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June 14, 2013

Sage Cohen


making love to your
husband who no longer

lives with you the night
before you leave for your

weekend retreat just
because he, having

agreed to overlap your
early departure to care

for your small son, appears
in the bathroom naked

and erect as you sit steeping.
What’s wrong with slipping

under the lifted wing he has made
of the covers, against the breastbone

of the bird your two bodies make.
What’s wrong with finding him

more beautiful at this distance:
lens adjusted to the immediate

taste of his tongue that has become
its own language since leaving you.

What’s wrong with taking him in
the way you would a galaxy

on a moonless night, this
pattern you have traveled by

dipping its cup
and spilling light.

from Rattle #38, Winter 2012


Sage Cohen: “Life breaks all of us open again and again and again. I am a collector of shards. By making mosaics of words, there is nothing wasted, nothing lost, nothing that cannot be reconstituted into transcendence.” (web)

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