Maria Cohut


A subtle shift in dream register
portends it: one door, unstuck
between home and home,
speaking in tongues, vowels jammed
at the back of my throat
as I pedal through the usual
answers - “yes, I live here,” 
where “here” is any given place
that holds breath for me.

My feet might describe it
as the comfort of treading water,
of being swept up with the memory
of sand, from pebble to dust,
dust consolidated into sheer cliff
top overseeing the freedom
promised by the horizon.

Those tall tales of belonging
have carved themselves into the fabric
of sleep: a language
I never cease to forget.

First Aid

It was the clouds that held me at first.
Those duvet clouds, rain-bloated,
that blotted out the sun. They
lulled me to a dreamless sleep.
For months, I didn’t even think
of other people’s mothers, how
they were just a train ride away.

Then, there was the laundry,
always clean, its crisp scent
of cheap detergent a different
kind of comfort. Strange,
what numbing medicines
we cook up when our hearts
blister over.

Invasive Species

It’s how they look at you
	- in class, on buses, at the letting agent’s - 
the frowns as you let out the words
and your accent won’t settle
	- a wild cat, braver than you -
despite years of polite conversation.

You used to feel safe in the remoteness
of this language, unburdened by shame
- the homes and hollows of your elders.
It’s the stares that wall you up now,
your rolling Rs the curse of generations.

You have come to see it, your enormous guilt
- how you have brought respectability into disrepair.

Flights, Issue Seven, December 2022