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Spring 2013

Explanation (Hiroshima)

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You have to explain
to the new girl, you

always do, to the one
who means, staying late,

to scrub the stain
from the marble stair

displayed at the museum.
You have to explain

that the darkness is not
a stain she can erase.

Rather, it’s shade
and shadow, a stranglehold

that’s all that’s left
of a girl and boy who

sat on the school stair
as children do, and vanished.

You have to explain:
we guard the stain.

—Andrea Cohen

Andrea Cohen’s next poetry collection, Furs Not Mine, will be published by Four Way Books. She directs the Blacksmith House Poetry Series in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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