Two Poems

By Cathleen Cohen

During the Pandemic My Husband Sends for Bonsai Saplings

Unboxed, they sit alert,
longing for forests,
but must wait

as each one takes root
in its own pot.
We slant them towards light,

rare cork trees
that took months to arrive.
But see, they send out

pale leaf shoots
and whisper together.
How long until

they embed here,
form filigree roots,
grow thirsty?

At night I slip downstairs
to sing them show tunes,
even prayers.

Focus

Children toss a yellow ball across the lawn,
directing the eye.

Cousins crowd tables
of canapes and cakes.

I study this old photo, dense
as if filmed underwater.

There’s tension in its depths
and leviathans are trolling,

trolling the oceans and in the sky
plagues circle, disguised as birds,

as many winged creatures.
We gossip, sip wine and

on the green lawn,
our tender children.

Cathleen Cohen was the 2019 Poet Laureate of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. A painter and teacher, she authored Camera Obscura (Moonstone Press) and Etching the Ghost (Atmosphere Press). Her website: cathleencohenart.com.

Writing during the pandemic has been soul-saving, a way to look inward and outward, to gather feelings and thoughts. I’m a teacher, so it was hard not to be with students in person, but I’ve been teaching on zoom and actually had so much time to write this year that I completed a book. What an unexpected gift.

Conversing with others through poems has been essential.

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