Five Poems by Sarah E N Kohrs

February 15, 2023

Lifeline

I have to pace myself.
Well, my heart, really.

It settles chopped and
bagged like the hen of the

woods, icy in the freezer.
I marvel over the marbling.

The unmixed melting
pot of hues and textures

that integrate into something
savory. Why are we scared

to agree? To disagree, but
peaceably? To compromise?

I plop the mushrooms
in a skillet. Their weeping

sizzles until each bit feels
with the same suffering.

No one cries louder than
another. They’re all too settled

in what they know. And
that’s when I slip them into

stew. Wine-broth bubbling.
Steeping into merriment.

Together. And, marveling over
the marbling-covered wrinkles

that begin every lifeline
our heartbeats create, together.

Therapeutics of a Rent Heart

Sitting on a walnut bench,
its smooth plank rippled
with grain like the marks
on Chesapecten jeffersonius
or sea stacks that march
out oceanward, just offshore always
peering at the coastline
longingly, perhaps,

I look beyond the diagonal
muntins of the window and
across black rooftop. A wriggling
of asphalted lines hints
at the slow leaks often
endured inside the next-door
building. In the distance,
historic high-rises catch
the sun’s glinting. A bird

hops along the sill, its wing
hanging unnaturally. Some
times, it stops to gaze at itself
or peck at the reflection.
Other times, it seems resolute
to jump and fly anyway.
But instead, it sits and waits.
Is it hope? Is it fear? Is it
not knowing what to do?

A turbine vent passively
turns clockwise, ever spinning,
never-spending a moment
to pause. Meanwhile, I sit,
mind reeling until the thoughts
solidify—almost real and ready
for Freud to prod, pen-posed,
head nodding, and one hour
never really enough to heal
a broken wing, hanging unnaturally.

Promising the World

It begins with a promise.
Something I told myself long ago.
On Tuesday. But before
the expiration date lightly stamped
on the cottage cheese container.

The one that over time will
break into smaller parts
confettiing the inside of a mound
meant for hiding, not honoring.
But only after it has grown

my daughter’s sunflower seed,
lingering in the compost,
caught in that cycle even a phoenix
couldn’t avoid if it tried.
If it tried to avoid what it couldn’t.

But, I digress. Everything
promises something. And yet,
the answer beyond 42 isn’t
always the same. There’s more.
And less. As we bare and

bulk, all blurry-eyed. Should
I have been a small fish, pleated
together in a watery world
that I could never leave, would
I have looked for promises

like wonder-minded Alice?
Am I merely arranging everything
quite neatly, clothes-pinned
on a line, so that anything out of
place shivers with sibilance?

Can we really restitch the world?
Swallow up as much as we want
until rivers disappear and time
calves off more than we realize?
It always begins with a promise.

A Simple Table Stained

Ad Infinitum

About Sarah E N Kohrs

Sarah E N Kohrs is a writer and artist with poetry in over 40 journals, such as Cumberland River Review, Flyway, Lucky Jefferson, Poetry of Virginia, Rattle, and West Trade Review. She is the 2022 Kingdoms in the Wild Poetry Award recipient for her chapbook, Chameleon Sky.

Follow SENK