Stirring : A Literary Collection
Samsara Quarterly

Marcia Cohee


If the end comes,
it comes in ways unexpected.
A day without meals,
green as a neighborhood at thirty-thousand feet.
The same houses, stiff, bent,
corners protruding
from every angle.

Who are you to know,
dizzy at the outset,
like yesterday's snow, brown, alone
when a rumor, a story, is left.

For the sake of the impersonal,
I think I'll read that story now.
Circle of apples, roses of intent.
Morning over night
boarded up against some faithless wind.

There goes blue fortitude,
a tulip before breakfast
a grace note
unto its windy self.
The sound

of the last ambulance in a dry kitchen,
home to flowers none.
Gone the sleeveless nightgowns of summer,
crisp autumn promises of gold's ease,
winter's overreaching sun.

If I were the candle
that watched over all of your nights
that imperiled nothing, even dreams,
tissue, skin, meaning
all wore their delicate half lives.
A resolute timekeeper wanders
not in some other universe
but through the turnstiles
of our own.

Holidays rise to the throat,
needs like Eucharists.
What if your hands and feet
are not oracles at all
and there is no wind
so cold as your thoughts?

In old age we have come to resemble birds
seeking magnetic north,
twisting sleep of the womb unseen
and not deep enough, this November.

Death is there,
a crow on the fencepost
staring you down.
On the way to the morning paper.
On the way to work.
On the way to ten thousand meetings
which somehow we postpone.

Where the romance of caves
and fire and tools begins,
and somewhere in that form of sleep remains
the signature of bone.

Illusions die, if we may speak
of a death so figurative.
Prose where the poetry should be
driven, fast as a tongue.

I have not been normal for so long
it must be pain that forgets, that tempers desire.
But where do I nourish my heart?

So fierce dreams are,
the slip of a surface unprotected
the way we walk the ocean
unraveling, never to return, vulnerable
to the world.

Date of Birth: 11/2/49
Location: Laguna Beach, California
Books/Chapbooks: Sexual Terrain, Laguna Canyon Was Once a River, Bonefire, Eurydice, The Dead, Improvised Night, Coheesion and Still Life