My body, …
it is not the earth I will miss,
it is you I will miss.
—Louise Gluck, “Crossroads”
I say good riddance to my body,
its conspiracy of veins
and bowels and vertebrae.
I can trust a deer to pick its way
through trees, a daffodil
to bully its way through frost. Once,
I saw the silhouette of a baby seal
held inside the translucence of a wave
like a portrait in a locket. How quartz
threads through rock, and a heron
threads through air then lands
and stills to a piece of quartz.
The way even weeds flower. Just now
the dullest brown bird appeared,
clumsy at our feeder, and picked
at soggy seed. I watched the quiver
of its tail while it fed its hunger.
Need I say, bodies must be fed?
I say the earth is the body I will miss.
Even if I could only touch it dis-
embodied, send a shiver
down the outstretched limb
of a single eucalyptus.
Even if I could touch down only
in the linear brittle body
of a dragonfly, one evening,
some rank bog.
Susan Cohen is the author of Throat Singing (Cherry Grove Collections; 2012). She recently won the Rita Dove Poetry Prize, the Anderbo Poetry Prize, and an Atlanta Review International Publication Prize, among other honors. Her poems appeared or are forthcoming in Greensboro Review, Nimrod, River Styx, Southern Humanities Review, Southern Poetry Review and other journals, as well as in anthologies from Salmon Poetry, Scarlet Tanager Books, and City Works Press.