Five Poems by Sarah E N Kohrs
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
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.