Julia Cohen
A Child Becomes Part of Your Nervous System

We collect everything that can be touched to the body
& bottle everything that cannot

Careful labels written on bark, glued with slugs

Out there, new levels of apathy crawl through screen doors
Unsurprise families at the kitchen table

Out there, hairbrushes aflame, a shabby brilliance ashing in pigtails
Out of your need to explore a need to protect

Cut eight notches on the school desk:
               The non-world occasionally rolls over you & you
                        must let your mouth widen
               Birdsongs appear as abstract patterns
               Some days everything is missing
               Deceit if we turn the day’s leaf from the pillow
               Tend exquisitely to what’s taken from the mouth
               A vision with no roof but the cap inhand
               Your eyes darken to enliven the birdsong
               When you arrive at the darkest blue you no longer knock
Each notch for the same child sleeping with fists

An intention lapsed into ink, unsure of what pain proves
Out there, they’ll finish the picnic as muskets fire
Oh timid sugar oh fire that caramelized your name oh sooted lamb

Hindmost, save room for desert
Golden haired amoeba, upstream, there there

And the way through your water was loosed upon the world
Some things are meant for flesh to touch