nan cohen

By Nan Cohen

Consider one apricot in a basket of them.
It is very much like all the other apricots–
an individual already, skin and seed.

Now think of this day. One you will probably forget.
The next breath you take, a long drink of air.
Holiday or not, it doesn’t matter.

A child is born and doesn’t know what day it is.
The particular joy in my heart she cannot imagine.
The taste of apricots is in store for her.

Today’s poem was was first published on the Academy of American Poets website and appears here today with permission from the poet and publisher.

Nan Cohen is the author of Rope Bridge, a collection of poems. Her work has appeared in Gulf Coast, The New Republic, Ploughshares, Poetry International, and Tikkun, among other magazines and anthologies. She is the recipient of a Wallace Stegner Fellowship, a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award, and a Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. A high school teacher and English department chair in Los Angeles, she is also the Poetry Director of the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference.

Editor’s Note: Simple, yet revelatory. A personal experience that belongs to one and to many. The day you will likely not remember. The apricot that is like all the others–unique. “The particular joy in my heart she cannot imagine.” The way that line bowls you over. How unadorned it is, yet how stunning. This poem. This poem. This poem.

Want to read more by and about Nan Cohen?
Rope Bridge
Nan Cohen’s Blog
“The Fear of the Dark” (with audio) at Slate
“Storm” at The New Republic
“Girder” at Verse Daily


  1. ‘~~~The particular joy in my heart she cannot imagine. ~~~ The taste of apricots is in store for her.’ Oh! 2B the baby. The Joy 2B the mama! Lovely, evocative piece. Thanks, Sivan.


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