A Literary Magazine in Support of the Jewish Community

Back to Issue Ten


"Do Not Recede" by Jonathan Cohen

Do Not Recede

       after Isaac Bashevis Singer

Receiver of prayers do not

recede into black holes, worm holes,

bending folds in space. Do not

reduce us to neurons,

algorithms, code. Remove

the dull film of blindered scientism,

rigid thought systems, superficial lists,

rushed conclusions, false certainties,

through which we see the world

more dimly than our ancestors.

Reverse in us a turned sense of wonder

at stars, oceans, mountains, all living things—

the snow owl that alighted, wings

aloft, on the roadside at dusk when we

were lost, the net pulled from the lilac

pond brimming, creatures wriggling through

our fingers, nipping our flesh. Restore in us

amazement at ourselves, each other, the beauty

of our form, the lightning bolt of connection

through a joke, a gesture, good talk. Return grandeur

to creation, a deserving crown to our heads.

Reject the daily news: despair, loneliness,

the overload, the-all-too-much.

Give us language to express our miraculous

circumstance, to recount the mystery

of our existence, unique in the cosmos

as far as we know, sacred so long as we insist,

here among the billions grown from the same

extraordinary seed, dependent on honor and hope,

chancing astonishment at what we have been given,

be there, not receding.

Jonathan Cohen

A native of Buffalo, New York and a graduate of Kenyon College, Jonathan Cohen lives in Norwalk, Connecticut. Several of his poems have appeared or are pending in Stone Canoe Journal, I-70 Review, Great Lakes Review, Naugatuck River Review, Cider Press Review, and others. He is a graduate of the Pocket MFA program and studies with Jon Davis.



Jonathan Cohen
First « 7 8 9 10