(Rusty Clark / Creative Commons)


We never know how many days we have
until the call goes out to us, wordless,
the crow says, cawing on my morning walk,

caw-caw-caw-cawing, breaking up the walk—
But, of course, he doesn’t say that, cawing.
The melody, obstreperous monotony

breaks open spaces in me I despise,
mounting paths through my cold jugular
I have to find new lyrics for, sky-morning-wide—

The crow is gone, perched on some neighboring street—
We never know how many days we have
I repeat to the wind, old friend holding my name

summer into fall, into oblivion.
And, shouting it, the street opens ahead,
star-morning-wide, its only end these stars.

Peter Cooley is Professor Emeritus of English and Director of Creative Writing at Tulane University where he taught from 1975 to 2018. His eleventh book of poetry, The One Certain Thing, was published by Carnegie Mellon in February. He is poetry editor of Christianity and Literature and was Louisiana Poet Laureate from 2015 to 2017.

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Published in the February 8, 2019 issue: View Contents
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