Love at First Sight Hurl Your Chain-Mailed Fist into the Sky

We take turns, trying to hack

up The Poet all through the night—unhindered

          by the sails of sleep—we birth

the black roses and break bones but never the skin.  Such

love.  What they left in the fridge

        between two jobs

and trading off who takes night

school.  The Awl’snore returns—makes

      love like water-

boarding.  There is value in this desolation,

each hug its own funeral parlor, an open viewing of a stranger

    among the family.  We reach

for the last piece of pizza, then caught,

pretend to hold hands just long enough for one of us

  to swipe it into the corner of

our cage, where we retreat to.  I eat

   my father, fingers first

   and then stoop to pick up his hat—reward

   for long hours

   watching me play in the public pool

   or the moments bent gently teaching me how to read.  Our

   gorge rises as we fly mom bloated & crucified

   on her kite, the way she likes.  The Coffee is cold,

   we drink it anyway to make it through

   the day.  One daffodil elbows its way

   through the cracks in an abandon-

ed parking lot.  We fold mom and put her back on her shelf

after wearing her to work all day—the way

        two women fight over a head of iceberg

lettuce that is torn between them.  We re-

address the axe to The Poet’s

      flesh, bring our beaks down to her neck

to sip the necrotic rose and the skin-sacked pile of broken

bones we clamber over to hold hands

    in her cage, each page a sail for which

we paid her dearly in micro-waved pizza this

finite moment in which we must

  all drown.  All that I require

is that you are lovely when

   it is our turn to be eaten.  If so, we share an umbrella

   in the downpour of nothing

   but blue.  Love at first sight, we throw our chain-mailed fist into

the.  O love, to this tolling of your eyes.


M. Cooper is an inland empire poet, PoetrIE member, CSUSB MFA student, Veteran, and parent to two great sons: Markus & Jonathan. More of Cooper’s poems can be found in The Berkeley Review, The Portland Review, The LA Review, H_NGM_N among other fine publications. Cooper’s new book, coauthored with good friend Cindy Rinne, Speaking Through Sediment, is now available from ELJ Publications.