Two Poems by Rebecca Cohen

These two poems by Rebecca Cohen examine memory, transition, and the shift from girlhood to womanhood…

by: Rebecca Cohen

When I dream of you young

Today I woke
thinking of you as you are
and as you have never been:
sundressed in a field,
the yellow of spring
in your step – and, pressed 
against the balls of your feet,
the roots of every fledgling thing.

I exhaled the last wisp of sleep,
opened my eyes to rumpled sheets,
to our bedside clock set five minutes behind
the rest of the city. Your arms were cradled
between us, ambered, 
the press of age 
on the backs of your hands.

Your feet have never been warm. 
Your mouth has never opened
to change.

When I dream of you young, 
it is only a desire to know 
a version of you that came before. 

When I dream of you old
it is only an overabundance 
of hope.  

we knelt by the porch
in early June, the soil
damp and cool as the 
skin of a bog, as I carved 
shallow holes in the earth,
my mother in white
squinting up, the seeds
cupped in her hands
then cupped in mine
then scattered like
grounds of peppercorn 
pressed gently 
into the spaces between
the soil: my marigolds
birthed in the pink
of the sun,
my seedlings
light as a mayfly’s wing,
as hope, resurrected,
at dawn

Rebecca Cohen is an American writer residing in London who received her Master’s in poetry from Royal Holloway, University of London. She has been writing poetry for over a decade, and in 2017, she won a college poetry prize awarded by the Academy of American Poets for her poem ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’.

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