MY HUSBAND by Stephanie Cohen

MY HUSBAND

smiles at me
every morning
as I sit at my dressing table,
brushing my hair,
powdering my nose.

His photographs stare
at me, with a grin.
“Good morning,” I say.
and I hope
he hears me.

Some children need to run away
from home.

Home? The house
to which they were sentenced.

The house of unspeakable pain,
the house of hunger.

The house of leftovers for
starving siblings.

The house of beatings. Cursing. Abuse
of every kind.

Can a child indict a mother who
starves him

A father
who creeps into her bed every night?

No, this is not a poem by a would-be poet;
I wish it were.

This is a poem of absolute desolation
of so many, too many of us.


Stephanie Kaplan Cohen poetry has appeared repeatedly in The New York Times, and has appeared or is forthcoming in 96 Inc., Aura/Literary Arts Review, The Coachella Review, Columbia Journal, Confluence, CQ (California Quarterly), Crack the Spine, Door Is A Jar, Folly, Hawai’i Pacific Review, Iconoclast, Pearl, Poet’s Page, Ship of Fools, Sierra Nevada College Review, Slant, Spillway, and Talking River Review. Her prose has appeared or is forthcoming in Amherst Review, Artful Mind, Art Times, Belletrist Review, Binnacle, The Chrysalis Reader, Contraband, descant, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Double-Entendre, Forge, Fuel, Grasslands Review, Hardboiled, Headway Quarterly, The Homestead Review, Iconoclast, Elm Leaves Journal, Jewish Women’s Literary Annual, The Legendary, The Long Beach Independent, Lynx Eye, Green Hills Literary Lantern, Minotaur, North Dakota Quarterly, Orange Willow Review, Pedestal Magazine, Reader’s Break, Real (RE Arts & Letters), Reed Magazine, riverSedge, The Scarsdale Inquirer, Slow Trains, The Smashing Icons Anthology, Sulphur River Literary Review, The Westchester Review, Westview, and Willow Review. Her work has also appeared in the anthologies Lessons in Love: Gifts From Our Grandmothers (Crown, 2000) and Split Verse: Poems To Heal The Heart (Midmarch, 2000). She is the author of a memoir IN MY MOTHER’S HOUSE, published by Woodley Books and poetry books ADDITIONS AND SUBTRACTIONS and BODY WORK published by Plain View Press. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize twice. For many years she wrote a column “Ask Stephanie” for the Alzheimer’s Association Quarterly in Westchester and Putnam, New York. She is also an editor of The Westchester Review. She has done many public and private fiction and poetry readings, and her work has been read on NPR.