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Thursday, May 15, 2008


by Marion D. Cohen

It's always things that would not really hurt.
There's rawness but no blood
moans but no screams.
And definitely no marks, never anything gross.
And when I'm the one being tortured, I'm also the one doing the torturing.
I'm at the controls in some way.
And if the dream turns lucid, I approach everybody in sight and begin to mold their faces.
I stretch, I shrink, I permute.
But I don't torture.
Once, in such a dream, I said to them, "I know you aren't real. So I can torture you if I
want to. But I don't want to.
"Besides, maybe you ARE real."
Yes, I'm still afraid it will hurt them
more than it hurts me.

Marion Cohen's latest book is Crossing the Equal Sign (Plain View Press, TX), a poetry collection about the experience of mathematics. Her previous book was Dirty Details: The Days and Nights of a Well Spouse (Temple University Press). She teaches math at Arcadia University.