Howard Kogan

An Ode to Hypnagogic States

At the library there was a college girl I sat
next to when I was in the sixth grade.
She had a gap in her blouse and I couldn’t take my
eyes off her breast nestled inside the white, lacy bra.

She saw I was looking and caught my eye.
I blushed purple but she smiled and winked.
She’s still winking. I never saw her again.
Or I saw her when I left the library

standing with a girlfriend. She pointed at me
and they laughed. I’m still standing there mortified.
Or we kept seeing each other every once in a while
at one place or another the way that can happen

until one day in my senior year in high school,
she arrived as my English teacher.
I wrote a composition about the experience
at the library and she gave me an F

or an A or she pretended not to remember me
or she remembered, but I was so shy
I pretended not to remember her.
Or the crush I had on my English teacher

had nothing to do with the girl in the library.
Or the experience with the girl in the library
never happened or many years later
after I finished college we met again.

She was married to a man I worked with
who left her a few years later and we dated.
She became my wife or she didn’t.
The imagined life as real as the life I lived.


Howard J Kogan, a psychotherapist and poet, lives in rural upstate New York.  In 2011 he was the Poet Laureate of Smith’s Tavern, Voorheesville, NY.  He was a finalist in the second Annual Jewish Currents Dora and Alexander Raynes Poetry Competition, a semi-finalist in the Naugatuck River Review Annual Contest (2014) and one of three first place winners of the Rensselaerville Festival of Writers Poetry Contest (2014). His poems have appeared in Still Crazy, Occu-poetry, Poetry Ark, Naugatuck River Review, Jewish Currents Anthology (2014), Farming Magazine, Up the River, Misfit Magazine and other publications. His book of poems, Indian Summer, published in 2011 is available from  His chapbook, General Store Poems, (2014) published by Benevolent Bird Press is available from the author.

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