All in by Nan Cohen

by Nan Cohen

If I say you know me better than I know myself,
that’s not to say you know everything about me.

What I mean is that a forest doesn’t know itself
the way a woodcutter does. Or a wolf. Or a child
walking into the woods.

But, you, you know what it is
to walk in these woods. To greet the woodcutter
and the wolf. To take the child’s hand.


Nan Cohen, the longtime poetry program director of the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, is the author of two books of poems, Rope Bridge (2005) and Unfinished City (2017). The recipient of a Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Wallace Stegner Fellowship, and a Rona Jaffe Writer's Award, she lives in Los Angeles, where she teaches at Viewpoint School and the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program.