Poem: Cooper Wilhelm

Illo for Cooper Wilhelm's poem.


I am dying for years in a leather chair of my own making
and the women still look
beautiful coming in and out of the butcher shop
on the ground floor, cheeks flush with ham, bodies built from folios of poultry.
I am a thin woman and when she left me to pursue
other interests she mouthed,
“disputatious wraith,”
through the train car and through the window of the train,
mixing her last words and the silence on either side of them
all the way to me. As if this thing being equal parts the opposites
said and unsaid was impregnable and everywhere at once,
covering past and future in dead skin.

It’s not any sooner or the past, so this is just a version of my life.
Pigs are intelligent creatures, hardly lesser, and would make superb companions
when never leaving the apartment even once because you are in love.

The way a rainstorm’s first light
touch makes dirt bloom and give up
its fragrance.
I keep a red handkerchief for the sake of decorum, and yet I worship this becoming
each day kneeling before my own body asking it what it will have
instead of me.
You are my remembered song, studio and live version overlapping,
You are the match I threw and the trembling room after.
Cooper Wilhelm’s work has appeared or is forthcoming from Rust + Moth; Flapper House; Yes, Poetry; Arc; The Opiate; and elsewhere. His microchapbook on necromancy, Whitman, and breakups, Klaatu Verata Nikto, came out from Ghost City Press this summer. He also writes poems on postcards and mails them to strangers he looks up in phonebooks at PoetryAndStrangers.com, and hosts Into the Dark, a talk show about witchcraft on Radio Free Brooklyn.

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