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Claudette Cohen



Intelligent Observers
It is comforting to think that the cat's eye nebula exists, that if we had not looked into it, it might be something else or nothing at all, but because we looked into it and named it the cat's eye nebula, it exists now. A man I've never seen before in my life stops by my office door and says, "There you are." I look up. He reddens. "You're not Lisa." "No," I want to say, "but for a moment there I must have been."

Funeral Poem
I want condors to argue over my liver. I want to lose an ass cheek to a Komodo dragon. I want for an elephant's trunk to probe my skull, for an eyelash to lie like Cleopatra high on the mandible of an ant. I want for the spiral inside a shark to wring the blood out of my heart and mash each string of muscle into mush gummed by the intestine, only the hardest bits shat out and nibbled at by wrasse and banded shrimp. Prize me, bacteria. Find me choice. May morels pop from my scalp and piss out galaxies of spores, replicating minutely, flagrantly at the edges of things like a fractal. Jackal, bear your teeth for me. Hunch and charge (oh, to be loved that much), and, flies, compound me piecemeal into a moving glory -- where to after this? Where to?