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Sandra Kohler






My sister, my brother have gone to live

in the Village of the Old, 

haven where the only dangers

are their own bodies,

mortal enemies.

There they are at leisure, 

there is no labor.

What happens to 

the labor of love 

in this gated world

which keeps out, keeps 

in, keeps safe, 

shuts in, shuts 

out, cuts off?





My back hurts. 

What weight

have I lifted heedlessly,

not knowing

what I carry?


In my body this morning

pain is a gate

opening me to what

I would gladly shut 

out, deny






When, awake, you turn 

off all the voices,

you are free;

when you sleep, 

a gate opens and

the voices are back. 

Dreaming, you are 

their subject. 





This morning’s wind is hesitant,

diminished, an old person’s wind. Still

the leaves flutter as if stirred by a god’s

passing, the ruffled petals of flowers

fold and unfold.


I glance into the front yard, 

take in the bold dark gloriosa 

daisy, monarda’s red violet, the few 

late centaura montana, fringed blue

and indigo, a hydrangea’s creamy 

heads of bloom.

Pleasure, a gate, 

opens me.

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