Addendum by Sage Cohen

This poem is part of a virtual gallery to celebrate the launch of my new novel, Afterwards.


–– Sage Cohen

The email subject line says: Addendum.
It comes after your morning together—

the family you would have been:
father, mother, son, soccer class

where you sat side by side behind
the Plexiglas and discussed

how to help your four-year-old
move through his explosive fear

of mistakes. The email says
he is engaged, has been for weeks.

Your neverwas and neverwillbe
husband. You dig the cigarettes

out of the trash and walk
out into the frozen yard.

The stiff hydrangea glisten
in brittle sun. The stray cat

in your garage crouches
in her agony of invisibility.

Time, too, can be traced
to its subtractions. Your son,

unable to nap, awakening
from the inebriation of infancy

wants to know why the father
in Finding Nemo says to Dori

“It’s because I like you
I don’t want to be with you.”

You have no explanation for the lies we tell
ourselves and each other. But his inner ear

like the conch, was born of this riddle
and is already whispering its answer.

is not unlike the high-low-high pattern

he has just learned seated and reaching
toward the far ends of piano.

Piano: soft. Forte: loud. Addendum: smoke.
You beat repeating

rhythms together on the piano
bench as your son is initiated

into the call and response
of music. Addendum.

as if there were anything left
to reference. Your son decides

the celery the Wonder Pets eat
after every rescue is their allowance.

When we learn something new,
we start seeing it everywhere.

The Wonder Pets land
in China and save the panda.

Nemo and his father are reunited.
It’s one, big happy ending and you,

years past believing you deserve
to be loved, are the addendum

as long as you allow your story
to be a continuation of his.


Sage Cohen is the author of Writing the Life Poetic and The Productive Writer, both from Writer’s Digest Books, and the poetry collection Like the Heart, the World. Visit her at



“Occasionally you come across a book that makes you feel as if you’ll discover something new if you were to read it a second or third time. This is one of those.” ~ Mel

Afterwards is the new novel from Satya Robyn. After a serious car crash shatters April’s mundane life, she decides to run the London marathon. Will she reach the finishing line? Compelling and illuminating, it reminds us that it is never too late to begin over again..