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Lynn Cohen


Click on the title NOTHING TO BE SORRY FOR
to explore more of Lynn Cohen’s work in her new poetry pamphlet
now in release from O:JA&L’s Buttonhook Press 2023 Pamphlet Series.

Die Zwitscher-Maschine by Paul Klee

Watching the yellow-billed starling feed his lady with a seed
slipped into her open beak, I am reminded of summer afternoons
in Keith Palmer’s attic bedroom—me and a girlfriend

mascara and tube tops worn for the slack-jawed boys
in stained jeans, circle-sitting on matted beige carpet. We sucked
in bong smoke, exhaled into one another’s parted lips because

it stretched our dime bag and (we thought) got us
higher. Oblivious to the hazards born of mouths, we made out
and shared gum, said “mother” and “fucker” and lied about what we longed for.

I believed in the safety of numbers, dumb about the damage
such a flock could do to my imagination. I ignored the murmurations
of my heart telling me I’d be better off flying alone.

Part of me is furious to have been born human, the burden
to impress, produce, ever improve. This life is too long
and lonely, haunted by unwritten opuses and abandoned dreams.

You, lady starling, are so lucky to have been spared all that, your masterpiece
the nest you selected from all others, decorated with colored petals and bright-
green blades, its builder the one who feeds you now, in an act so close to love.


About the writer:
Lynn Glicklich Cohen has been published in Amelia, Amethyst Magazine, Brushfire Literature and Arts Journal, Cantos, El Portal, Flights, Front Range Review, The Midwest Quarterly, Oberon Poetry Magazine, Peregrine, SLAB, Spotlong Review, St. Katherine’s Review, Swamp Ape Review, Thin Air Magazine, and Trampoline. Her novel, A Terrible Case of Beauty, was published by Trebol Press in 2013. She received a Masters of Social Work from Simmons College in Boston and practiced as a clinical social worker for several years in Boston and Baltimore. She then moved to Vermont and received her MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston.

Image: Die Zwitscher Maschine by Paul Klee (1879-1940). Watercolor and ink; oil transfer on paper with gouache and ink borders on cardboard. No size specified. 1922. Public domain.

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