One Poem

Wyn Cooper


When the young man came home he had to lock his old dog in the bathroom to keep her from seeing the look in his eyes. It was a clear evening, though he obscured it by closing both shades in the tiny apartment. The hum of the street was beyond his hearing, the sweet curry about to be eaten by the woman in the basement a meal he could not smell. The air closed around him until there was only his body, stuck in a cocoon of his own concoction where movement was impossible.

When the dog whose name was Mona began to whine and scratch at the door the man had no idea what the foreign noise in the background might be. He had forgotten by now he owned a dog, the same Mona he had named and trained and petted and walked and tried to hide his troubles from for more than a year. He thought the sound might be a rat, he knew they were in buildings nearby, so he got out the only weapon he had, a ball-peen hammer, and opened the door to the bathroom.

He had forgotten to train Mona to deal with pain, her own or his, and the look in her eyes when she saw the hammer was so sad, so frightened, so like his own when he glanced briefly in the tiny mirror above the sink, he had to slam the door. There was no rat, no dog, only his own rabid thoughts in the moments before he came to his senses, opened the door just in case, put on some old time music and began to dance.

Wyn Cooper

Wyn Cooper has published three books of poems: The Country of Here Below (Ahsahta Press, 1987), The Way Back (White Pine Press, 2000), and Postcards from the Interior, (BOA Editions, 2005), as well as a chapbook, Secret Address (Chapiteau Press, 2002). His poems, stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, The Southern Review, Crazyhorse, AGNI, and more than 75 other magazines. You can visit him at: www.