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The Sun Not Yet Swallowed


Douglas Anthony Cooper

Art by Joan Nelson


The Sun Not Yet Swallowed

I am chained to my bed by the usual chains

A cup of cat’s breath, the beard of a maid

A terminal moraine.

These fix my feet; my wrists are restrained

By the massed anxiety of bears

And ceaseless the shuffling sound

Of parrotfish pacing the floor

My bed is a bitter nest

My bed has been made

With the skill and saliva

Of raptors

Of eagles and hawks and owls

And lesser but no less brutal birds

With nothing better to do.

Issue of the barren I am

The pride of eggless fowl

My pillows are all of the softest granite

Hewn from Canadian shield

My sheets undiluted cotton from only

The finest cottonmouth

And each liquid thread

In this thread count of thousands

A string of yellowish venom milked by

The Swissmost of milkmaids

This is the pitiless miracle

In which I lie nerveless

The bed of the woken body

Cradle of the conscious mind

Crater of civilization and

Container of who I am

Here with me is all that I have learned

This is the prison of morning


Douglas Anthony Cooper

Douglas Anthony Cooper is a Canadian writer and photographer living in Rome. His latest novel, The Strangler Fig, will be published by Black Spring Press in 2022.

Joan Nelson

Joan Nelson (b. 1958, California) lives and works in upstate New York. Her work has been exhibited widely at venues that include the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; Guggenheim Museum, NY; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, among many others. Nelson received her BFA from Washington University, St. Louis, MO.

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