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POETRY / Salem's Lot / Cooper Wilhelm


It’s better to think of it from the snake’s perspective, also shocked 
that you are here, woken up and knowing only safety 
comes with punching through the soft skin of surprise 
clear until you can see daylight,

to crown your fist with teeth.
Almost no one kills a boyar.

But we are better than what we run into. 
We do not call out for the judgements, they just come 
and come and come 
and cross over us like birds uprooted, 
fleeing something else.  
Is this what offering to love yourself can be,
a making peace with pain by admitting it 
has every key to the house already? Sometimes I think I am tired
for the sake of this,
my wings a mask over my eyes
my heart the strumming of cell bars with a tin cup
that could have been a star.

I haven’t asked who has moved to town,
who makes our whole lives whole
as another day to be forgotten. 

What leaf is this falling from my hair, 
What lost volcano cornered, hissing snow? 

Cooper Wilhelm is the author of three books of poetry, most recently Swine Song (Business Bear Press / 2018). He grew up in Maine and thinks of Stephen King as an anthropologist. More at CooperWilhelm.comand on twitter @CooperWilhelm