We Lost Our Everything

By Andrea Cohen

We lost our everything,
she said, which said everything
about loss. My accumulation
dictates my ruin; it’s different

from your dismantling, which
can happen slowly or all at once.
What’s crucial is a total
inventory, which may reveal

some one element not obliterated.
We lost our everything,
she said—we—she repeated,
meaning the we-ness remained,

which in the end must be the seed
of re-beginning, the seed that
divines the plow, the ounce
of dirt, the memory of digging.

Andrea Cohen’s poetry collections include Kentucky Derby (Salmon Poetry, 2011), Long Division (Salmon Poetry, 2009), and The Cartographer’s Vacation (Owl Creek Press, 1999). She directs the Blacksmith House Poetry Series in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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