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Peter Cooley


  • Poetry October 26, 2000

    My Crow, Your Crow

    Crow light: I call it that at dawn
    when one wing, then this other, bursts in flame,
    catching the sun's rising. The stupid bird,
    dipping his hunk of bread into the water,
    doesn't know the Mississippi is my friend:
    it disgorges in the gulf the frozen states I came from.
    Mississippi! She was a grade school spelling word
    in Detroit for me. I spelled well. Now, forty years later
    I jog beside her interchange of gold and silver lustres,
    always too much in love with any surface of the world.
    But the crow: I know it's not the same bird
    morning after morning. Still, the dipping of his beak
    into this water, softening a breakfast for his gullet
    demanding, like mine, daily satisfactions
    lets me pretend every day's the same.
    On one chunk of that bread some day up ahead
    my last day is written, clear as the printing
    on my birth certificate on file in Michigan.
    Crows dip their bread. Daily, I run for breath,
    hoping to extend my distance, even a little.
    The Mississippi muddies, clears, according to the factories
    up North, the local, snarled measures against its dying.
    Slowly, even the river is passing from us while I run.

    Peter Cooley