Andrea Cohen, this year’s Women’s Voices’ Mother’s Day poet, has also written a beautiful poem appropriate for Father’s Day. Family relationships have always been literature’s lifeblood, yet it is rare when one finds someone who can write of blood relations with such subtlety and insight. We wish joy for you and yours today, and offer you the joy of Andrea’s stanzas as well.
Do you speak Spanish? someone
asks my father. Poco, he says,
which is his one word in Spanish, which
opens the floodgates because “a little”
is open to interpretation.
My little might be microscopic
beside yours. His little won’t admit
how little he understands, how
little he is comprehended.
His little says: let’s pretend
we come from the same planet,
that similar suns and moons
and deaths arrange us. His poco says
to the senorita: Haven’t we met?
And to the bricklayer: Aren’t we birds
of a feather? His poco says:
my little may be the rind, but it’s part
of the orange, and it’s mine. More
tequila? More beans? More sightseeing?
the bartender, the waitress, the tour
guide ask. Poco, my father says, meaning
as much as we can, meaning,
please, meaning keep the river
cascading, the nada at bay.
“Poco” is from Furs Not Mine, a forthcoming collection by Andrea Cohen. Reprinted with permission of Four Way Books. All Rights Reserved.
Andrea Cohen’s poems and stories have appeared in Poetry, The Atlantic Monthly, The Threepenny Review, Glimmer Train, The Hudson Review, Memorious, and elsewhere. Her poetry collections include Kentucky Derby (Salmon Poetry 2011), Long Division (Salmon Poetry 2009), and The Cartographer’s Vacation (Owl Creek Press 1999). Her forthcoming collection, Furs Not Mine, will be published by Four Way Books. Andrea Cohen has received a PEN Discovery Award, Glimmer Train’s Short Fiction Award, the Owl Creek Poetry Prize and several fellowships at The MacDowell Colony. She directs the Blacksmith House Poetry Series in Cambridge, MA. Visit her at www.andreacohen.org