Thursday May 23

Cohen-Poetry Susan Cohen is the author of Throat Singing (WordTech; 2012) and recent poems in Atlanta Review, Greensboro Review, Southern Humanities Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and other journals. She holds an MFA from Pacific University and lives in Berkeley, California, where she’s won many awards as both a poet and journalist.

To the Brooches My Mother Wore
after Raphael Alberti
Go. Raise the lid of the box
that sat on her dresser, flee
my closet, find somewhere else to live.
Go where names find themselves
on monuments, where bones flower.
Where apples rot to seed,
where dresses reborn as rags
gladly gobble dust.
Go farther.
Find the music makers –
their sequined sheaths and wide lapels,
their Shimmy and their Charleston.
Draw a young man to the tender skin
below a girl’s clavicle, light her breasts
as she laughs, make him unable
to believe the sparkle of his luck.
Go back to the dazzled gift-givers,
be the anticipation
that smoldered in their pockets.
Haunt the jewelers who might know
what to do with you, the hands
that hammered copper and plated silver.
Trouble the forge where ores melted,
and the distant mountains missing
what was bled from their veins.

To My Fingerprints

I ship you to the future, skins of my skin,
little grease spots, sticky lemon drops,
as I cached you in the past
on each cicada shell I pinched
from bark and stashed in a cigar box.
That was in Ohio. I also left you,
silent songs of myself, on the neglected
ivories of a piano in New York, and
smudged in Hong Kong and LA where you
might cling to a lonesome corner
of adolescence. How long do you linger,
individual as scent, oils I leave behind
as I grope the world? Today, I shoved
a high window open, one the California
weather rarely reaches round to scrub.
It will not matter after strangers
break into my former life, but I planted
you like snowflakes, small evidence
of my unique brief visitation.