This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Amanda Judd, is from Stress Positions by Marion Deutsche Cohen, released by Alien Buddha Press in 2020.
No Sex for Now
(1) (The reason) I can’t lie on one side for too long, can’t do any motion for too long, can’t be still for too long. And, after a time, I have to be in my chair. In general, I can’t be put in any position. I can’t be a puppet. I have to decide which position to be in. I and only I know what that is. This thing is isolating. My body must be reclusive, mine and mine alone. I’d rather it also be Jon’s but right now it can’t. (2) (Well, almost no sex…) In the hallway we’re talking, then hugging, then a little kiss before he goes to do errands. I say “I really want to French kiss but then you’ll think…” In answer he gives me, then I give back, the shortest sweetest French kiss I’ve ever had. A kiss I’ll think about when I’m in 9-pain. A kiss I can take with me into the steroid injection room. A kiss to keep with me this whole long dark ride. A kiss to remember the rest of my life.
Marion Deutsche Cohen is known, in particular, for her writings (poetry and memoir) on three topics: spousal chronic illness, late pregnancy loss, and math. She is the author of 33 books; her newest poetry collection is Negative Aspects (dancing girl press), and her latest prose collection is Not Erma Bombeck: Diary of a Feminist 70s Mother (Alien Buddha Press). Forthcoming are Disturbing Shapes (New Plains Press) and Reasons and Remedies for Insomnia (dancing girl press). She teaches a course she developed, Mathematics in Literature, at Drexel University’s Honors College.
After a 25-year career as a paralegal, Amanda Valerie Judd returned to school to earn her AFA in Creative Writing from Normandale Community College. She is currently attending Southern New Hampshire University working to earn her BFA in Creative Writing – Poetry. In 2020, she won the Patsy Lea Core Prize for Poetry. In 2021, her poem “My Only Label” was nominated for “Best of the Net 2021.” Her work has been published or is forthcoming in PAN-O-PLY Magazine, MockingOwl Roost, Trouvaille Review, Prospectus, and Talking Stick 31.