Poetry: Jonathan Cooper

Jonathan Cooper's poems and essays have appeared in various publications including New Plains Review, Houseboat Literary Magazine, Tower Journal, The Statesman Journal, and The Commonline Journal. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, he studied in Oregon and Toronto, and now lives Vancouver, BC.
Jonathan Cooper

Community Garden

Someone cuts the grass,
places chairs here and

there, wheelbarrows,
hoses, shovels, neatly

stacked in the lockless
shed.  On the way here

he passed a meth-
addled teen sprawled

in fetid doorway sleep,
and flicking through his

phone, saw that last night
a refugee boat filled

with children flipped
over in the Med.  And

this morning—every morning—
no cigarette butts or broken

bottles between the neatly
boxed flower beds.  As the

sun nudges over the apartment
buildings, he reclines on a

weathered Adirondack, feels the
pages of his journal between

his fingers, the blades of grass
between his bare toes.

Forest Grove 

A mile outside Forest Grove, our cars idled next to a wheat

field.  The RV in front switched off its engine, and its

grey t-shirted owners set up beach chairs on the gravel

shoulder.  No cars came the other way.  I stretched my arm

out the window, rolled my hand back and forth in the sun.  As

the breeze rustled the stalks, something caught my eye—twenty

yards off, a fireman in long coat and helmet waded noiselessly

through the knee-high wheat.  Suddenly, the RV owners were

hustling their bright beach chairs, and we began to roll forward.

We passed a police car, an ambulance, a pickup truck flipped-

over, cab flattened into the field.  The alluvium of glass pebbles

spread to the edge of the road, and two bald thoughts stepped

into my mind: It is a beautiful day.  And I am still alive.

June playground

Quick footsteps, deathless shouts, on the
bridge between

full green trees.  Nearby, my daughter
spades the sand,

I recline, feel the sun on my knees.  As I
inhale early summer

filtered through shadowed boughs, I fail
not to notice

that even in June, some leaves turn from
green to brown.

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