Peter Cooley

July 25, 2016 Cooley Peter



Such as the sun might present—out of sight—


I need to see the Unseen Face again

the one I can imagine, piece by piece.

I’m talking about divinity, of course.


I need to enter where I’ve never been.


What else is new, my soul asked from the tree

where it had taken on the mockingbird

breaking the dawn down, splinters I could hear,

notes too high, too low, ordinary days.



The face is there, open your hand right now,

the bird kept singing me, in broken notes,

and then it made me speak, in these poor words:


the face returns my stare, oh, just reflection,

stars, stars I find along my street each day,


clogged, festering across the gutter trap.

Peter Cooley is Professor Emeritus at Tulane University and was Louisiana Poet Laureate 2015-2017. His 11th book was THE ONE CERTAIN THING, elegies for his wife, who died in 2018.