In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Hunter’s Moon, and: The Lesson of the Stars Is Perishing, and: Interpolations, and: The Aviary, and: Morning Prayer, and: Eschatologies
  • Peter Cooley (bio)

Hunter’s Moon

He will not always be here in the fall.Meanwhile, there is this moon fencing his yardas if a searchlight turned on suddenlyhad only his small space to magnify.

What can illumination ask from him?As if the sky had come to him alone,his neighborhood has turned away its eyes,houses at either side of him extinguished.

He’s only come out to assure himselfhe’s an average twenty-first-century man,recyclables in one fist, garbage the other.He’s not. He is. He’s not the worlds’ witness

to this, the white light of another life.It means he’ll pass into the earth some dayand then into the moon’s worlds and beyond.It means not yet. Meanwhile. Not. Yet. Meanwhile … [End Page 173]

The Lesson of the Stars Is Perishing

I’ve held myself against each bartered faceI’ve found in starlight strewn across the grass,the mirror of the constellations therecracked by expectation of reflection.

And when—but let me talk about the sun.Nothing else is like imaginingthe radiance the sun permits, insists.So present no one else can wear my face,not even me beyond the minutes it presents,changing me while I speak, a single treecalled out of a shadow we could forget.I mean the magnolia in my yard.I mean my own shadow, calling me back.

Noontime moving through the trees. Weather-watch,who am I each morning that I dare ask? [End Page 174]


It’s not as if the mountains can’t be scaled.The mountains of New Orleans. Of course they can.

You have only to enlarge them on your floor,place them beneath your foot, running outside.

It’s not as if my fingers and my toesI put into the fire can’t be extracted.

They can be, tip by tip, pulled, flesh by flesh.You have only to expect blackout, waking, blackout.

It’s not as if hungers and my lustcan’t be quenched, oh, they can, underground, sky

assuage them, laying out plenteous repasts,or seraglios of naked rains the clouds unveil.

The unappeasable, the unaccountable,the countries beyond imaginations’ grasp—

here are their costumes, our multiple disguises,Try on this hat. Hmm. Maybe. Now, that apron. [End Page 175]

The Aviary

I’ll tell you how I believe: come with me nowdown starred horizons fallen in this streetthe run-over cat spills with ruby guts.

A rook awaits me. Watch. I take his wings.I have whole days when I fly in this rook,the street a hunting ground for all my prayers.

Mornings when I go out to take on faithsudden descents, I swoop, land on concrete—what am I hunting except firm affirmation

in the clogged storm drain where water reflects starsamong tree branches, imagining each rootfor me, then forests’ constellations?

Each uncertain resurrection I count on? [End Page 176]

Morning Prayer

Let me love less, I told the mockingbird,the first sound I heard, waking to its thrumdown the middle of the dawn, ascent and shiningportending nightfall, the panoply of stars—

let me give up old forms these words are taking.There, I’m walkingnaked, maybe, maybe wearing wind?It’s cold, I know, it’s lonely.Where are my old friends,the homilies I learned in Sunday School?

No, it’s never walking,            always flying.I’ve given up even you, Love, climbingthese stairs I’m traveling only on my knees,the sky a map for continents unknown,the sky close to the bone, always new skin. [End Page 177]


The corner of my room I call my godsgreets me mornings, speechless.It wants to be desired for its fleshit doesn’t have, its words, all gray dumb show,its hunger for transcendence I call mine.

What I like is a journey without map,a piece of the sky transposed on the floorinto stained glass of a...


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pp. 173-178
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