Peter Cooley


To My Neighbor

It’s almost Easter here
in Elsewhere and the machines
are doing all the work: washing, sweeping,
heating still while I haunt my home
useless as a second thought.
I will never reach the end
of this novel. I will fail to empty
the diaper pail. I will eat lunch standing
over the sink and it will taste like
nothing at all. Even the excursions
are broken. The highway turns
and clovers over and under
and over. At the filling station
while the car fills itself
I will pass once more
on the opportunity to wipe
the beetles from my windshield
in favor of staring south
and if a stranger were to ask me just then
where’s the best place
to get a bite round here
I’d say I was just passing through.
When the bells ring out at Our Lady
the vultures will fall from the steeple
into flight, circle in the hope of fresh
death, then resettle landing
father, son, ghost.

Peter Cooley has published elven books of poetry, the most recent of which is The One Certain Thing, a book of elegies for his wife whom he lost in 2018. He was 2015-2017 Louisiana Poet Laureate. Carnegie Mellon will release his next book, Accounting for the Dark, in January 2024.

Thank you for reading Vol. 1, No. 3