you are in the diode archives winter 2010



Self Portrait with Forgiveness

Maybe forgiveness could take
the shape of a fish

I place in the heel
of a clear, plastic shoe

filled with water.
There would be one

fish in each shoe. They
would be in love—

with each other, not me—
but eternally divided.

They would be brilliant
and orange and I

would walk around on them
all day and every night

they’d tuck me in,
repeating: it’s alright, it’s alright.


English as a Second Language

He studied hard. He
was small and quick, like
a minnow swimming.

He liked the idioms
in English, especially
phrases like: I left

the past behind me,
the glass half full.
After class he asked:

what is the word
for the sound a knife
makes entering flesh?

Is it different for flesh
very young or old?
What is the word

that means to hold
a fish? I held him
briefly. His scars darted

in and out and then
we were water
under the bridge.  


Andrea Cohen is the author of the poetry collections The Cartographer’s Vacation and Long Division (Salmon Poetry). Her poems and stories have appeared recently or are forthcoming in Poetry, The Threepenny Review, Orion, Glimmertrain, and Salamander. She directs the Blacksmith House Reading Series in Cambridge, Massachusetts.