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Max Cohen


My rule book says “don’t touch anybody” over and over.
I leave home for an electrical closet, find new friends
& mice there. I don’t think I’m wrong. Upstairs girl makes toast,
picks eraser flesh from her nose, writes for the paint
that sings “I sing and am fragile,”
writes to shut them up, really. Everyone downstairs
holds cups to their ears, they and mice get along
better than anyone. German doesn’t sound funny to them.
Upstairs girl agrees. She, me and mice
all in the same boat, all play the same game:
“which one of us won’t ever be 40.” Like Twister
it never leads to sex. My rule book says
“don’t touch anybody” over and over & I keep it
because I don’t think I’m wrong. This is my armor.
If I don’t get a cup I’ll wear it all my life. When night comes
I pass it around the boat and we all take turns.

No Home

Here an
invisible bone
to divide with,
breaking all
wet with it,
slowly. In
April I wait for
a day & damp
shoes make me
happy. Tim
says “what’s
lovely about
big white space
is not touching

A white for the
hour, I see it I
drink what I
drink when I see
it. Last summer
Tim took a
mouthful of
wasps to the
porch &
honey and
sun for the
horses—I always
fall for this.

I slept in an old
home for bodies
in quiet spots
made up of
“you know lots
of boys have
bones you
Cotton tooth
Tim, gauze for
the horses.

It’s dark in the
desert, no street
song to follow,
nothing from
Tim or his belly
of bees.
End of an
end of things.
Deep in his
bed he/she
said (maybe)
“This is it, last
time I ask for my
music. This is it
this is it” five
days over, by the
end of it melting,
light like an
echo, sharp

Small prick of
violence, nothing
for dinner, no
safety in years.
Yesterday Tim
made death
from a lampshade
of wasps.

Max Cohen is an MFA candidate at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, currently residing in Northampton. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Ilk, Big Big Wednesday, and Columbia Poetry Review. He also keeps a blog of his unpublished poetry and works in progress at hardlyarthardlygarbage.tumblr.com