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 was born and educated in the Midwest and has lived over half of his life in New Orleans, where he was Professor of English and Director of Creative writing at Tulane University and is now Professor Emeritus. The former Poet Laureate of Louisiana, he received the Marble Faun Award in Poetry and an Atlas Grant from the state of Louisiana. The father of three grown children, he published his tenth book World Without Finishing in 2018.