Cathleen Cohen – 2 poems

Invasive

            

Racing past bushes, my grandchild

summits a log, wobbles and falls,

ignores my open arms.

            

She shrieks, bends low and swats

then examines a scrawl of trembling legs                  

that resemble a word, mid erasure.

            

It flickers until she strikes again,

meets my eyes, a victor.

I chide, these are creatures,

            

and still her soft hands

slapping at nymphs,

black and red speckles

            

like blood from battles, from myth.

Yes, invaders, but

what should I teach her?

            

I’ll only rampage later,

alone, armed with suds and rolled papers,

cursing, swatting.

            

Like Nightflowers

            

In class we admire Tom, the model’s ruddy skin,

the loose way he holds his jaw,  without

regret,  the architecture of his cheekbones, offered outward

the most vulnerable angle of his face.

            

Here, anyone might take a swing, but

unconcerned, he gazes out

beyond our circle of easels and arms

stroking and swiping with brushes.

            

He is beautiful and survives, old dancer.

I’ve painted him for years

in life class or open studio and know

he does flamenco.

            

I used to keep a distance from the models.

But today he confides  

of arthritis, doctors’ warnings

not to pose on hard surfaces. 

            

There’s swelling in his knuckles

which I render with Prussian blue shadows.

            

His could be

priests’ hands giving benedictions

or painters’ hands, like mine,

which tire and twitch after an hour.

            

I wish he could pose as he once did,

wrists snapped to the rafters, arched spine but

as he mounts the model’s stand

his palms wilt like nightflowers.

            

Cathleen Cohen was the 2019 Poet Laureate of Montgomery County, PA, USA.  Her poems appear in Apiary, Baltimore Review, Cagibi, East Coast Ink, 6ix, North of Oxford, Passager, Philadelphia Stories, Rockvale Review, Rogue Agent, Camera Obscura (Moonstone Press, 2017) and Etching the Ghost (Atmosphere Press, forthcoming 2021). She received the Interfaith Relations Award from the Montgomery County PA Human Rights Commission and the Public Service Award from National Association of Poetry Therapy. Her artwork is on view at Cerulean Arts Gallery (www.ceruleanarts.com).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s