Where Will You Go When Things Get Worse?

April 28, 2017
By Susan Cohen 
portside (April 28, 2017)

Our ship of state, writes Berkeley poet Susan Cohen, may be facing extinction, but there's no practical escape that will suffice; alternatively, we may resist. 

Where Will You Go When Things Get Worse?
	By Susan Cohen
Surf keeps overwhelming the remains
	of a fishing boat beached and abandoned
	weeks ago, rubbing it to extinction
	wave by wave, plank by plank.
	I joke this must be the ship of state—
	humor being a vehicle for escape.
	If you’re an astronaut, you can seek
	another planet for atmosphere.
	If you’re a wordsmith,
	you can keep hammering, or else
	stop and pour the single malt
	to shake you nightly off your axis.
	I watch sanderlings, tiny birds
	who feed on tides—somehow unscathed
	by pounding—and I imagine flight.
	But once launched, what Arctic
	would I land in that isn’t melting?
	At my feet, red carcasses of crabs,
	a shell being another vehicle
	that will take you only so far.
	If you’re a crab, you can swim
	or scuttle, or hunker down
	on your unsettled patch of sand,
	all ten legs set to resist.
Susan Cohen’s most recent book, A Different Wakeful Animal, won the Meadowhawk Prize from Red Dragonfly Press. Her poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Greensboro Review, Los Angeles Review, Nimrod, Poet Lore, Tar River Poetry, and the Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry. A former journalist, she has an MFA from Pacific University and lives in Berkeley. www.susancohen-writer.com

	 


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