Of Shock

Nicole Cooley

Sudden blow   bundle of grain   a surprise   a heap of sheaves
          meaning trade

with the Dutch

A thick mass of your hair on the brush   in the pillow   in my
          mouth

When an electric current passes through all or part of the body

How I wish to collide violently with myself

To throw troops into confusion by charging at them

The shock of cold water    the shock of wedding cake shoved in
          my mouth

Stuttering heartbeat felt by a hand on the chest wall

A knife in a light socket

Pile or stack of unthreshed corn

And what is myself without you

Push your hair into my mouth

Will you collide violently with me

Will you be a decision inflicted upon my body

A bundle    unthreshed and untethered

The shock of

Jar   impact   collapse

Flash of my white nightgown in our dark yard

More by Nicole Cooley

Compendium of Lost Objects

Not the butterfly wing, the semiprecious stones,
          the shard of mirror,

not the cabinet of curiosities built with secret drawers
          to reveal and conceal its contents,

but the batture, the rope swing, the rusted barge
          sunk at the water’s edge

or the park’s Live Oaks you walked through
          with the forbidden man

or the pink-shuttered house on the streetcar line
          where you were married

or the green shock of land off I-10, road leading
          you away from home.

Not any of this
but a cot at the Superdome sunk in a dumpster

and lace valances from a Lakeview kitchen where water
          rose six feet high inside

and a refrigerator wrapped in duct tape lying
          in the dirt of a once-yard

 

and a Blue Roof and a house marked 0 and a

kitchen clock stopped at the time the hurricane hit.

Because, look, none of this fits
in a dark wood cabinet for safekeeping.

This is an installation
                    for dismantling
                              —never seen again.

Marriage: A Daybook

From the window the river rinses 
the dark. I twist 
the wedding beads around my neck. I’ve lost
my ring, silver and antique, bought from the night market
in the other world across
the ocean, color of dull lead,
color of the pan I scrub and burn
in the sink.

*

Catullus wrote, I hate and love, and he wasn’t talking about marriage.

*

Not talking about the blacked-out
window crossed with hurricane tape,
like a movie screen, a page redacted,
your hand erasing a blackboard
with an eraser’s soft compliant body.

Related Poems

A Meadow

What was it I was hungry about. Hunger, it is one 
Of the several contraptions I can turn on the off-button to at will.  

Yes, yes, of course it is an "Art." Of course I will not be here 
Long, not the way the percentages are going now.  

He might have been 
                                     Half-beautiful in a certain optic nerve

Of light, but legible only at particular  
                                     Less snowy distances. I was fixed on

The poplar and the dread.  The night was lung-colored 

And livid still—he would have my way 
                                     With me. In this district of late 

                                     Last light, indicated by the hour of
The beauty of his neck, his face Arabian in contour

Like a Percheron grazing in his dome of grass, 

If there is a god, he is not done
Yet, as if continuing to manhandle the still lives of

The confederate dead this far north, this time of year, each
Just a ghostly reason now. There are reasons:  One, 

Soon the wind will blow Pentecostal with the power of group prayer.

Two: the right to bear arms. Three: you did not find my empathy
Supernatural, at the very least.  

—Have you any ideas that are new?
			
I was fixed on the scythe and the harlequin, on the priggish
Butcher as he cuts the tender loin and

When I saw this spectacle, I wanted to live for a moment for
A moment.  However inelegant it was,

It was what it might have been to be alive, but tenderly.

                                     One thing. One thing. One thing:  	

              Tell me there is
              A meadow, afterward.