Andrea Cohen

Another Gift

Here’s something I
have two of, someone

said, which meant
much, and then

someone without
a word handed

me the one
thing she had—

and I could
barely, in my one

head, hold it.




Performing love is what
she said. It was the first

time I’d heard the
expression, and the first

time is special—
you want, at first,

to bow or curtsy,
to listen for applause,

for the mercy
of a curtain.




I heard those words
early on—don’t

give her the satisfaction—
and didn’t know what

that meant, what
satisfaction looked

like, so I held on
to everything, which

is the opposite—this
heft—of contentment.




The day they
were taking her

from hospital to
hospice, the night

nurse said,
Thursday’s my

day off. If she’s
still there then,

I'll visit. Where
else would she

be, I thought—not
yet comprehending

what every night
nurse knows.




That was a red
flag and all

I could do
was run to it.



How Sound Travels

You said goodbye and I
heard good and I, and

only later, the buzzing
b, its lethal sting.



Dark Days

Hegel said that happiness
consists of history’s blank

pages—and the revisionists,
unhappy with the brilliance

of nothing, keep scribbling.




A man stands accused
of shooting at the moon—

which was naked and
out at such an hour.



Andrea Cohen's poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, The Threepenny Review, and elsewhere. Her sixth collection, Nightshade, will be out this year with Four Way Books. Recent books include Unfathoming and Furs Not Mine. Cohen directs the Blacksmith House Poetry Series in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the Writers House at Merrimack College.