The Sunday Poem: Dee Cohen... Levitation

Your job, your partner, your child...what is it that keeps you from floating away? This remarkable piece begins in Walgreen's, usually a tough place in which to levitate.

An active DCF member, Dee Cohen is new to the ABQ poetry community. Her work has been published in assorted print and on line journals. Her chapbook Lime Avenue Evening was published by The Laguna Poets group of California.


In Walgreen’s, she waits in a blue molded chair
for her prescription. The clerk said thirty minutes
or less, but it’s more. Coming in,
it was raining, she’d had to hurry across the open
parking lot, pushing the stroller through
gathering puddles, but she can tell by the shoppers,
their coats unbuttoned and the leisurely way they stroll
through the store, that the sky has cleared.

The baby is finally asleep: he lies in her lap, one hand
lifted to his forehead dramatically, as if caught
mid faint, and his small mouth moves in a dream.
Good, because she had to walk him up and down
the aisles, her hands circling his tiny ribcage,
and maneuver him back and forth, back
and forth, so he wouldn’t tumble over,

her little drunken sailor, her miniature buccaneer,
his chubby forefinger pointing out the cold remedies
and aspirin bottles, packets of cotton balls and Q tips.
This? This? This? he asked,
looking up and grinning as each bright package

came into view. She turns in her chair now,
strains to see the sky and, yes, there’s a glimpse of it:
one big cloud, pinkish and high up, comical almost,
with waves of wind dispersing its bottom in tufts.
Sleeping, the baby’s heavier- a weight that pulls
her down, an anchor that fastens her to the floor-
but without him she worries she might
float off, just disappear

and she remembers that game in junior high:
stretched out as if dead
on the waxed wooden floor of the gymnasium,
surrounded by serious faced girls, pairs of hands
slipped under her legs, her shoulders,
the small of her back; most of those girls in college now,
she’s sure, most of them on their way to somewhere good;
Think of something sad, they’d said, Think of nothing at all.
Then One, Two, Three they’d lifted
and how her body floated up
and her arms flew apart without her telling them to,
opened wide as if trying to embrace everything:
the high ceiling, the white fluorescent lights,
the sky above the town, the barely visible stars, her future,
as if everything, everything was there for the taking.

--Dee Cohen

Poetry submissions are always welcome. Email

Views: 81

Comment by Margaret Randall on November 28, 2010 at 7:47am
What a beautiful poem, Dee! There is so much here, and so much poetry, and the two become one in all that which is barely alluded to, beneath it all. Welcome to the poetry community. We are so much richer for your presence.
Comment by cathyray on November 28, 2010 at 9:28am
I know for a fact that there has been more than one occasion in my life where my love for my son kept me on this planet. I love the celebration in this poem of the little, mundane (Walgreens) moments that are the basis of life.
Comment by cc on November 28, 2010 at 10:43am
great descriptions - great capturing of a time in your motherhood and life.
Comment by Dee Cohen on November 28, 2010 at 5:09pm
Thanks to all for such lovely responses.
So nice to be part of ABQ's poetry world.
Comment by Barelas Babe on November 29, 2010 at 1:33pm
This is a gorgeous poem, Dee. Your vivid descriptions of the magnificent mundane pulled at this mother's heartstrings. I look forward to reading more of your work.
Comment by Briana Rose Lucero on November 29, 2010 at 11:02pm
Beautiful unfolding of life! Really enjoyed reading this, and being new to this site grateful to stumble upon it!! Wonderful poem!
Comment by Dee Cohen on November 30, 2010 at 6:09am
Thank you all!
I've been reading the Sunday poem since moving here and even dipping into the great archives.
It's a treat to be included. Dee
Comment by Georgia Santa-Maria on December 5, 2010 at 6:26pm
Wonderful poem, Dee--I so like your work, and am always glad to hear you read--thank you!


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