Horse on field at sunrise

Four Poems by Andrea Cohen

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Skin in Game

It isn’t easy giving
your skin to someone

to hold, even for
a minute, even if she

gives you her skin, or
the bones of her inner

ear without blinking.
You can’t hear

without those bones,
you need someone

to intuit winds
closing in. Without

skin you feel too
much this buffeting,

the way grasses,
flaming, die back,

the way a solitary
mare through green

fields moves,
the way the field

moves through you.




He walks like a condemned man,
putting one sprig of green

in front of a blizzard.
Mostly he travels by night,

in dreams, to not be seen.
By day he hangs out

with other condemned men—
they eat, they laugh, play cards.

Tomorrow they will tell
their condemned women

how the hours, like yellow
tulips to light, bend toward them.




He builds the birds
from wings he has

around the house,
the cage from bread

he bakes. He means
to see how long the birds

might take to eat
a way out, how long,

not knowing the ways
of the wild, to fly

back, and in what 
forlorn and minor

key, for their stale
cage, sing.




All night plows plow.
Snows snow. Lovers

somewhere somehow love.
What purity: doing what

you are. I listen to the bone
soup brewing: not the proper

way to savor the savory.
Let’s study weather

weathering, balloons
ballooning. The weather

balloon sent up says
which way winds

howl & how fast. I’m
trying to put my mouth 

around the idea of
you. It’s an awkward

task—like the dog
bringing slippers

to his legless master.




Andrea CohenAndrea Cohen’s sixth book, Nightshade, is due out this year by Four Way Books. Her last book is Unfathoming. She directs the Blacksmith House Poetry Series in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the Writers House at Merrimack College.
Read poetry by Andrea Cohen previously appearing in seven poems and four poems.
Header photo by Creative Travel Projects, courtesy Shutterstock. Photo of Andrea Cohen by Adrianne Mathiowetz. is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, art, commentary, and design since 1998.