snow downgraded to nuisance on the narrow street
BY MORIAH COHEN
Houses wake with light by the mug-full –
parades of underarmor and boots; cars
backfire then shimmy to a start.
The second time
we’re born they say will be of fire.
The third of snow.
But coaxing the boy’s
arms through his sleeves, she knows
this time he was born an elephant which is
to say he is an obelisk and a rope.
Just last night, she woke to the radio
looping a station’s jingle followed by
militants dragging a foreign city by its
She turned on the lamp. Or she didn’t.
She swaddled her little elephant in wet
darkness that branched like pines
that ring the house.
These hours fray at the tips,
peal or tip-toe, want what they want, if only bodies
to knead the swollen mouth, massage
from the pain a shape as she coaxes it
Dali’s joke: the animal does not know
where it ends nor begins.
And there is something swanlike about that.
Isn’t there? A beauty that hurts so bad
in its understanding of its own loneliness.
Once, she saw a cygnet spill across the confusion
of a white lake.
At water’s center rested an island.
On the island, black trunks blanching at the tips.
Moriah Cohen’s poetry has been published in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Hoot: A Mini Literary Magazine on a Postcard, Word Riot, Baltimore Review, and Narrative, where she took runner-up in their 30 Below Contest in 2013. She has an MFA from Rutgers University’s Newark Campus. Currently, she lives in New Jersey with her two sons.