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About this poet

Peter Cooley is the author of Night Bus to the Afterlife (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2014), Divine Margins (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2009), and A Place Made of Starlight (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2003). He is a Senior Mellon Professor in the Humanities and director of creative writing at Tulane University and lives in New Orleans.

NIGHTMORNINGSKY

Peter Cooley

I'd like to see the tree as it once stood
before me, childhood, the branch and leaf
a single form of transport, ecstasy
shaking my body I give to the leaves,
the leaves return, my stare all interchange.

But that was when I had a sky to name
since I had a belief in constancy
like everyone. The sky was my background,
the drama of the tree and me, one act,
then three, then five, a Shakespearean play script.
some tragic flaw in hero, heroine,
yet to be discovered.
                             But now the sky
clouds even dawn with a black mist that falls
from all things and all imaginings.

The tree in my backyard is caught in this.
When I look for the sky it is still there
but now a matter of my memory
or prophecy.
                 Where is the root, bough, stem
set clearly against a morning, clearing?

Copyright © 2010 by Peter Cooley. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2010 by Peter Cooley. Used with permission of the author.

Peter Cooley

Peter Cooley is the author of Night Bus to the Afterlife (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2014), Divine Margins (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2009), and A Place Made of Starlight (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2003). He is a Senior Mellon Professor in the Humanities and director of creative writing at Tulane University and lives in New Orleans.

by this poet

poem

It’s not that we’re not dying.
Everything is dying.
We hear these rumors of the planet’s end
none of us will be around to watch.

It’s not that we’re not ugly.
We’re ugly.
Look at your feet, now that your shoes are off.
You could be a duck,

no, duck-billed platypus,

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