Poems by Gary Cooke

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Koi Pond

by Gary Cooke

From Canary August/September 2009

Gary lives at the edge of the Texas Hill Country in the Lower Colorado-Cummins Watershed near Gilleland Creek.

In their dark pond
they glide, ancient spirits
in bright robes, moving
with flicks of their sleeves.

They are breathing gods
who move toward us, then away,
when they know we have
nothing to give.

The afternoon sun
makes the surface seem clear,
but they disappear, slipping
beyond the world we see.

The Road Between Them

by Gary Cooke

From Canary Autumn 2009

This kind of country
makes your heart spill.
Wildflowers everywhere,
a sign saying
Sweet Medicine Ranch.

Just below Latrobe
the dark eyes of a mare
disturb you, until the curve
in the road lets you see the horse
on the other side, head down
in the long grass.

The road between them
wet and dark, a sky purple
with thunder, you feel something like love,
even driving by,
big drops of rain splashing
like tears on the windshield.

Reprinted from Yuba Flows (Hip Pocket Press, 2007)

The Windows

by Gary Cooke

From Canary Winter 2009-10

What if the windows
in all the hotels in Reno
are really the eyes of wolves,
dead from guns or bad winters,
and their tails are the winds
that sweep across the valley?

And every time a woman gets kissed,
the wolves are licking their lips?
What if great jaws snap and drool
when a woman flips her hair,
or a man drops his cigarette
and turns away?

What if all these eyes are waiting
for one wolf to move,
his huge paws spreading
as he trots in closing circles,
and night howls in aching sadness
the way every train sounds,
winding down the mountain
and hauling toward the city,
the red neon pulsing,
the lights burning all the windows bright?

Originally published in Yuba Flows (Hip Pocket Press, 2007)

This Part of Texas

by Gary Cooke

From Canary June/July 2009

Squalor is a plastic bag
shredding in the thorns
of a wire fence, trees
blown bare by winter.

In this part of Texas
winter is a whiskery thing,
the face of an old cowboy
too long in the hard light.

You can see the pain
of dry earth, the way cows
kick dust as they search
the barren fields for grass.

In the dirt yards
dogs watch trucks go by
while grey sheds lean
and play sets stand empty.

You wonder what a woman thinks
as she stands, her hair blowing,
arms folded beneath her breasts,
lips as thin as the horizon.

She turns and climbs
the trailer stairs in her blue dress,
the whole sky pressing down
and no way to change the wind.

Originally Published in Borderlands - Spring/Summer 2007

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