The One Certain Thing

By Peter Cooley b. 1940 Peter Cooley
A day will come I’ll watch you reading this.
I’ll look up from these words I’m writing now—
this line I’m standing on, I’ll be right here,
alive again. I’ll breathe on you this breath.
Touch this word now, that one. Warm, isn’t it?
You are the person come to clean my room;
you are whichever of my three children
opens the drawer here where this poem will go
in a few minutes when I’ve had my say.
These are the words from immortality.
No one stands between us now except Death:
I enter it entirely writing this.
I have to tell you I am not alone.
Watching you read, Eternity’s with me.
We like to watch you read. Read us again.

Poem copyright ©2009 by Peter Cooley, whose most recent book of poems is Divine Margins, Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2009. Poem reprinted from Pleiades, Vol. 29, no. 2, 2009, by permission of Peter Cooley and the publisher.

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Poet Peter Cooley b. 1940

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Living, Time & Brevity, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

 Peter  Cooley


Poet and editor Peter Cooley was born and raised in Detroit. He earned a BA at Shimer College, an MA at the University of Chicago, and a PhD at the University of Iowa. He is the author of numerous poetry collections, including Divine Margins (2009), A Place Made of Starlight (2003), and The Astonished Hours (1992). His poems have been widely anthologized in collections such as Best American Poetry (2002) and Poets on Place . . .

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SUBJECT Living, Time & Brevity, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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