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Since 1996 Volume XXI

Susan Cohen

Susan Cohen is the author of Throat Singing. She won the 2013 Milton Kessler Memorial Poetry Prize from Harpur Palate and the 2012 Literal Latte Poetry Award. Her recent work appears in Los Angeles Review, Salamander, Souíwester, Southern Humanities Review, and the Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry.


Minor Collisions


Itís another incidence Ė

shock of metal on metal Ė

as she flings her van door open


and snags my passing car 

the moment Iím making my escape

down the breast clinicís narrow drive.


That scarlet screech

as steel scrapes a length of paint

is the cosmos come close-calling


to ensure I donít assume Iím safe.

When you add them up: the tumors

that proved benign, the fevers


that broke in time, the blood gush

stanched; the swerves, the brakes

that failed but dumped me softly


in the farmerís waiting field;

the undertow that took its time

to spit me out; the ruptured gut


and the surgeonís skill;

the anesthesia dreams

I almost didnít wake fromÖ


Itís peculiar to survive one hour

as this accidental universe

repeatedly breaks skin, or


ólike that dog who once leapt 

from his front porch and clamped

his jaws onto my thigh Ė 


leaves you standing

in your bless-ťd jeans, bruised

by its out-of-nowhere steely kiss.

--originally in Atlanta Review



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