Published on October 29th, 2019 | by Marion Deutsche Cohen


Bonding and Unbonding: Poems


The first day I said I’m soooo happy.

The second day I said I’m sooo happy.

Until the day I said I’m not that happy.

And another day I said he’s not that cute.

And it’s true, sometimes he’s lovelier than others.

Which means other times he’s less lovely than some.

In the family bed

I have dreams

where he isn’t.

Yes, sometimes I’m with him

sometimes I’m not.

Which is it? — make up my mind.

Two flights up my other children

carry him around.

I don’t know which is sadder

when he cries or when he laughs.

Photo by Aimee Vogelsang on Unsplash


Suddenly he straightens



And his pitch rises.

And his vowel shortens.

They say it’s fear of falling.

But maybe, when his arms stretch out like that

he thinks he’s holding the entire world

or trying to.

Or maybe he just starts to feel his back

learns the extent of all he can’t see.

Photo by Sergiu Vălenaș on Unsplash


“What is it about babies?”

“Maybe nothing. Maybe nature just makes the mothers such that they

            love the babies so they take care of them and the race continues.”

But I don’t like that.

I want there to be real reasons.

Real mothers. Real babies.

I want it to be real.

Photo by LIANE on Unsplash


If I breastfeed this one

even longer

past toddler-hood, past childhood

safely to another woman’s breast

if I keep this one in our bed

stand up, stand over

not blink all night long

‘til he makes his own family, his own family-bed

also not blink all day —

if I home-school this one

be his letters, his numbers

be enough of an earth mother

to be his earth

then maybe the second mind

won’t sneak up on this one

won’t seize the first mind

won’t erase the first mind

won’t turn the terrible two’s

into the terrible five’s

into the third mind

into the fourth and fifth.

Photo by Alex Hockett on Unsplash

Excerpted from The Fuss and the Fury

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About the Author

Marion Deutsche Cohen is the author of 27 collections of poetry or memoir; her latest poetry collections are “The Project of Being Alive” (New Plains Press, AL) and  “New Heights in Non-Structure” (dancing girl press, IL)., as well as the just-released “The Discontinuity at the Waistline: My #MeToo Poems” (Rhythm and Bones Press, PA) and “The Fuss and the Fury” (Alien Buddha Press, NM). She is also the author of two controversial memoirs about spousal chronic illness, a trilogy diary of late-pregnancy loss, and “Crossing the Equal Sign”, about the experience of mathematics. She teaches a course she developed, Mathematics in Literature, at Arcadia and at Drexel Universities. Other interests are classical piano, singing, Scrabble, thrift-shopping, four grown children, and five grands. Her website is marioncohen.net.

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