Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Well, I guess if I'm going to have a blog, I damn well better start posting some poems now and again!!


Turns out the gypsy-haired woman
who led the evening workshop up in Chicago
was a Holocaust survivor. I didn’t know
until someone told me after. How odd, this guilt,
like this was some kind of test I failed,
proof that I am not so observant
as I’d like to think I am, just another fool
imagining I know something about suffering.
No cinders in her stare, no flintlock in her voice
as she posed a different word for forgiveness.
Not even a chimney ashing winter sky
in the white noise between her line breaks.
She brought a poem about flowers—
petunias, marigolds, birds of paradise leaning
from the jaws of a ceramic vase,
flower boxes blooming like open coffins.
It was late. I was tired. She seemed to me
like an old woman who had been
writing about flowers for a very long time.


  1. Helen Degen Cohen?

    I read with her earlier in the year--it was a pleasure. Her poems about being a child in the Holocaust are filled with beauty.

  2. Yup! She's fantastic. I actually wasn't familiar with her work until we traded books and I read it when I got home. Really stunning stuff!