600 miles and not a word spoken By Vicki Cohen

The city is hidden in a ghostlike fog. Across the river where life’s laid bare in scattered lights the rain has stopped. Outside is dead quiet. Inside Leonard Cohen warbles across radio waves alleging truths that live or truths that die and here we sit. You beside me, me beside you, the gearshift steady between us. The bridge is up. The traffic is jammed. 600 miles and not a word spoken because what we’re best at are choked conversations, missed moments, overlooked odds, closing the curtains with shut eyes and shut mouths ever since somewhere along the way it became unsafe to speak, for you to tell me what’s on your mind, for me to tell you mine. So we stay in our precarious imbalance, the one that aches for equipoise, but neither of us knows the wellspring nor do we know the remedy so while Leonard sings we stare straight ahead and try to listen, one of us rolls down a window, a mist rises and new-old raindrops oscillate in the water below.


Vicki Cohen has been a nurse-midwife for more than thirty years. Somewhere she still has the one page play she wrote at the age of nine. She is about to begin her final term in the MFA program at Bennington College and is working on a memoir about her obstetrician father and the politics of midwifery and medicine.

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