SATURDAY POETRY SERIES PRESENTS: NAN COHEN

nan cohen

A NEWBORN GIRL AT PASSOVER
By Nan Cohen


Consider one apricot in a basket of them.
It is very much like all the other apricots–
an individual already, skin and seed.

Now think of this day. One you will probably forget.
The next breath you take, a long drink of air.
Holiday or not, it doesn’t matter.

A child is born and doesn’t know what day it is.
The particular joy in my heart she cannot imagine.
The taste of apricots is in store for her.



Today’s poem was was first published on the Academy of American Poets website and appears here today with permission from the poet and publisher.


Nan Cohen is the author of Rope Bridge, a collection of poems. Her work has appeared in Gulf Coast, The New Republic, Ploughshares, Poetry International, and Tikkun, among other magazines and anthologies. She is the recipient of a Wallace Stegner Fellowship, a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award, and a Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. A high school teacher and English department chair in Los Angeles, she is also the Poetry Director of the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference.

Editor’s Note: Simple, yet revelatory. A personal experience that belongs to one and to many. The day you will likely not remember. The apricot that is like all the others–unique. “The particular joy in my heart she cannot imagine.” The way that line bowls you over. How unadorned it is, yet how stunning. This poem. This poem. This poem.

Want to read more by and about Nan Cohen?
Rope Bridge
Nan Cohen’s Blog
“The Fear of the Dark” (with audio) at Slate
“Storm” at The New Republic
“Girder” at Verse Daily

About Sivan Butler-Rotholz

Sivan is the Contributing Editor of the Saturday Poetry Series on As It Ought To Be and holds an MFA from Brooklyn College. She is a professor, writer, editor, comic artist, and attorney emerita. She is also the founder of Reviving Herstory. Sivan welcomes feedback, poetry submissions, and solicitations of her writing via email at sivan.sf [at] gmail [dot] com.
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2 Responses to SATURDAY POETRY SERIES PRESENTS: NAN COHEN

  1. Kathleen Culhane says:

    Sent from cell phone; please excuse brevity and typos

  2. Maya Elashi says:

    ‘~~~The particular joy in my heart she cannot imagine. ~~~ The taste of apricots is in store for her.’ Oh! 2B the baby. The Joy 2B the mama! Lovely, evocative piece. Thanks, Sivan.

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