Three Prose Poems


When you've had more than one husband you're doomed to spend the rest of your life dreaming of their hybrids. Last night's looked like Jon but I called him Jeff. Another night he was Jon at first, then changed into Jeff. Then there was this guy with dark curly hair but a nose like Jon's. When I dream of having another baby the questions never comes up who the father is.


It's a sweet thing, the right shade of grey, the grey of the kitten I want. It's striped but not harshly, the stripes all that same soft grey. And it's got sprinkles, little random dots like paint, bright pink, white, turquoise. Understand, it's sweet, not too busy, even though there's a figure over those stripes. But when I got it home Devin said "Mom, that's not sweet; that's a hawk eating something." But I looked closer and that hawk wasn't eating, it was just a hawk, a hawk like a flower so today I wore it with a stainless steel necklace, a two-dimensional necklace, it covers the hawk-ness but not the soft colors and tiny sprinkles and I don't care what anybody says, that shirt is sweet.


I let it get away because it cost $25 and the flea market wouldn't bargain down so now, every market, every booth, I look for it. If I ask for it they laugh, "What's a polygon?" Oh, a type of shape, any number of straight lines. Nobody's got that necklace, nobody but whoever bought it at that other flea market. Last week somebody had pentagon earrings and at home I've got triangles, squares, hexagons, if I put them together I'd have a polygon necklace

but not THE polygon necklace, not six different polygons, different colors too, not those chubby heptagons and octagons fitting together in a puzzle. Oh, someday at a math conference I'll find a charm bracelet of the five Platonic solids or the trefoil knot on a sterling chair or some reasonably artistic rendering of Peano's space-filling curve. But I want natural polygons, serendipitous polygons, a just-happened-to-be polygon necklace, made and sold by people who don't know what a polygon is.

Marion Deutsche Cohen

If you have any comments on these prose poems, Marion Deutsche Cohen would be pleased to hear from you.