When They Asked Her Why


She said, I’m good at it. I give
good babies.
That’s the only thing I know, how
to love a baby;
and kiss it goodbye when
they come for it.

I feel like a furnace
crackling fuel,
growing as a fire does,
bigger, bigger,
it busts out of me.

Don’t ask how many. I don’t know;
and I don’t want to know. My
only worry is what
I’ll do when I’m too old to
catch a baby.

There’s no unemployment insurance for such
as me, a brood mare.
Maybe I’ll do what the animals
do, when they’re no longer fertile.

About the Author
Stephanie Kaplan Cohen’s poetry has appeared repeatedly in The New York Times, and has appeared or is forthcoming in 96 Inc., Aura/Literary Arts Review, The Cape Rock, The Coachella Review, Columbia Journal, Confluence, CQ (California Quarterly), Crack the Spine, DASH Literary Journal, Door Is A Jar, Evening Street Review, Folly, Hawai’i Pacific Review, Iconoclast, Pearl, Poet’s Page, Ship of Fools, Sierra Nevada College Review, Slant, Spillway, and Talking River Review. Her work has also appeared in the anthologies Lessons in Love: Gifts From Our Grandmothers (Crown, 2000) and Split Verse: Poems To Heal The Heart (Midmarch, 2000). She is the author of a memoir IN MY MOTHER’S HOUSE, published by Woodley Books and poetry books ADDITIONS AND SUBTRACTIONS and BODY WORK published by Plain View Press. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize twice. For many years she wrote a column “Ask Stephanie” for the Alzheimer’s Association Quarterly in Westchester and Putnam, New York.