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  • Is This All the Gods Ask of Us
  • Peter Cooley (bio)

that we admit someday we all will die?We offer them that trifle every day.

But every morning, stars against my faceuntil they’re blinded by the sun at noon,

I go out, half my belief dumb faith,my eyes half-lidded on invisibles

but focused on my dog, scattershot mutt.He leads this blind man on his morning walk.

I follow his tail. I follow the red holeallowing him his random defecations.

Never the morning I thought I might seebut only this, competing paradise,

these gold rivets the skyline’s fastened with,these silver-embossed footsteps where I dance,

these ever-changing weathers of my wordsnectar to me, honeys and ambrosias.

My dog has never thought about his death.This is why, long after I am gone, [End Page 43]

his progeny, never aspiring to soul,will lead some other fool down other streets,

who tells himself, that fool, imperishingslie either side, sheer beauty of the world.

A world like the New Orleans live oaksa sheen on leaves we’ve never seen before!

Since we have eyes to time our stay on earth,and feet to claim our place, our vanishings. [End Page 44]

Peter Cooley

Peter Cooley ’s tenth book, World Without Finishing, is forthcoming next year. He continues as Senior Mellon Professor in the Humanities and Director of Creative Writing at Tulane as well as Louisiana Poet Laureate.



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pp. 43-44
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