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Susan Cohen


And then I rose
to the dazzle of light, to the pine trees
plunging and righting themselves in a furious wind.

Chana Bloch (1940-2017)

And here I am among the pines and in the light

of an afternoon on the mountain,

the trees upstanding in the heat, dumb

observers of all that goes on above ground.

You’re not above ground, but I imagine you

getting to know the dirt creatures

and consoling them as they translate you,

return you to aleph and to bet.

If there is humor to be found in darkness,

your dry bones will close around it, though silence

is a challenge to laughter.

I hope wherever you have plunged,

you have righted yourself.

Do you feel up to starting over in a body

that isn’t made of words—

a sapling ponderosa pine, perhaps—to rise

and dazzle us some more?

Left here in the wind, we are mostly furious.

Susan Cohen is the author of A Different Wakeful Animal, winner of the 2015 David Martinson—Meadowhawk Prize, Throat Singing, and two poetry chapbooks. Her poems have appeared in many literary journals, including Hunger Mountain, Poetry East, Poetry International, Poet Lore, Puerto del Sol, River Styx, Salamander, Seattle Review, Southern Poetry Review, Sou'wester, Tar River Poetry, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. Her work has been featured on Verse Daily and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2009. She lives in Berkeley, California.

— posted November 2017

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