Julia Cohen
& Jennifer Denrow

We Called It the Frozen Bouquet of Listening



I wade.

I have wolves for thoughts.


The cornfields in front of the house soaked

through with science & its silence toward

a 90-pound dog on the porch.


Remember when you murdered the rain?


We’re housed by a glow & a black fly out to find us.

My thoughts are wet my hands are wetting

our babies look at us

& we pack weddings into

Lake Michigan. Each century a memory.


My thoughts grab wolves by their collars.

Trying to remember the lake of

this century—the air bubbles


& paddles cutting up what was there.

The very movements we either claim or deny

with this wetness in between.

Our house on the edge of it—

built from & falling into

despite the efforts of cornfields.


I thought we were making decisions?


We threw in the lake wallpaper patterned

with the bootprints of ice fisherman. We threw in a blurry

person. Someone we hope can swim.


& just as we reached the shore

the shore became unbelievable to us.


We called it The Lab Coat. We called it

Turning Back & No Turning Back. We called it

Acting Upon Seagulls. We called it The New Rehab.

We called it Fear of the Driftless Grief.


The dog is well-trained & won’t leave the porch

like a word we spell but cannot mean.


Tire tracks concern memory.

Bridesmaid to this century.


Shorebound we were made entirely

of thoughts of the shore, & now

being here is a form of unclutching.


I was incorrect to pull the wolf’s ears

like a playmate among cornstalks but I cannot

back out of the century. My purse, filled with lake

& barbeque smoke.


Babies crawling over the watercolor

battlefield, the rainy wolves

like amateur chaperons

falling deeply in love

with each other

listening in on.

What Radio



A glisten of playmate slid out like money

When I thought space was what I could occupy

When I thought these barnacles built this boat


Tundrababy grasslandbaby mesababy

slalombaby babybaby

We don’t even know if we like grapefruit

Some crude planetarium we squint out


What demented quest for the sweater vest

is best communicable via bicycle

Some liquid franchise arranged like a massacre


Falling atomic sonogram

We’re trying to find Denver

The breakfast table acts like a parachute

financing the biscuits & chutney


An arrangement that sinks—

To pedal down the dock, a wiry plunge

with a basket of letters


Bystanders ring out the bib in a given verb

Cornsilk wigs point us to Denver & elevation

outside of snow


When I thought the radio was a castaway boat

When I thought this pond could trick a landlocked heart


We only compose space

fields split into bedrooms

its civil coasts like waterproof mascara

how the arctic pacifiers

say babies

say civic duties

say hairbrush

say what you want


JULIA COHEN‘s most recent book is a collection of lyric essays, I Was Not Born (Noemi Press, 2014). Her poetry and nonfiction appear in journals like DIAGRAM, jubilat, The Destroyer, Colorado Review, and Verse. She’s an assistant professor and teaches in Chicago.


JENNIFER DENROW is the author of California (Four Way Books, 2011). She lives in Colorado and teaches writing classes at Denver’s Lighthouse.