Volume 12 • Number 2 • Fall - Winter 2020

Jessica Cohn


We get used to things. I’m growing
used to my light-boxed life among faces,
their framed likenesses. Life lived in
gallery view of noses, foreheads, potted
plants, planted books. How our faces go
dark after hours, like when the bag is placed
over the head before the guillotine cuts loose.
How our own electric bodies can be muted.

Do you remember how it was to sit at
the table, full-body politic, tealights aglow,
goblets shimmering? It was lovely. Even
when smelling garlic on someone’s breath.
Or, a woolen not quite dried. Or, the odor
of ardor. Despite the spills.

Where does the soul go when zooming?
I don’t mean to change the subject, but,
a half million dead this half year. And
counting. I’d like to know. Being in a
body is its own antibody, I think. We learn
too late what’s sacred: Take this and eat
of it. Do this in memory of me.
We crave
what is out-of-body, the sweet

spasm, the sacred syllable, the pill
or potion for fog or serotonin’s rush,
the posture to unplug chakras. We’ll
work our way out. Follow harsh regimens
to burn flesh away. Oil up in fussy smells.
All to avoid what is, the body of us all.

Jessica Cohn’s recent poems found homes in Crab Creek Review, in Comstock Review, at RavensPerch Literary Magazine, at Rattle, at Split Rock Review, and in California Fire & Water: A Climate Crisis Anthology. She’s a reporter and nonfiction writer as well.