Better get your angel on,
         said Jennifer, her voice
         lower and more urgent than
         her usual laid back tone
         I spent two charmed summers
         listening to, on the grass,
         at the beach, the world beyond
         our reach and we the better
         for it, the clouds a sign
         that angels might exist,
         not that we mentioned it,
         focused instead on the marvel
         of our own existence in
         that time and place, a barn
         in Vermont, light leaking
         through rotted boards that looked
         like what we had escaped,
         bad friends, worse habits,
         the chances we took so different
         from what I remember
         of those summers: night
         rides to Hoosick Falls
         to shoot pool in pairs,
         the way she combed her hair,
         the skirts she wore, the shorts
         I rarely took off as if
         that might bring bad luck,
         keep the angels from showing.

Trapped in a Decade Long Gone

         Sounds echo off the building
         as I leave it, harsh and final.
         I signed the papers and walked,
         talked to no one alive.

         Freedom’s like a beehive,
         take too much and you’re stung,
         punished for your needs,
         banished from your local.

         Loss isn’t fleeting:
         it’s physical, durable
         as a car battery
         until it finally dies.

         Sounds in my head contain
         tambourine men, echoes
         of masters, ruinous
         sledge hammers. Then silence.

         Tropes are metaphors gone astray,
         strutting down avenues of glory
         unaware of their uselessness,
         trapped in a decade long gone.

Wyn Cooper

WYN COOPER is the author of four books of poems, most recently Chaos is the New Calm (BOA Editions, 2010), and Postcards from  the Interior (BOA Editions, 2005). His poems appear in more than 25 anthologies of contemporary poetry and more than 100 magazines. He has written song lyrics for Sheryl Crow, Madison Smartt Bell, and David Broza, among others. He works as a freelance editor of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction from his home in Vermont.

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