All This

Gemma Cooper-Novack

Gemma Cooper-Novack

I. O Pirates Yes
This is what I think: every link is
receding along with the island while we make endless
lines on the water. Every trail fades, so
I am going to sing with you, our voices bobbing like
the merchant ships, as the sheer
stark barred buildings blend against
the white sky in awkward harmony.

II. Hewers of Wood Drawers of Water
This morning thirty years ago or more the doors pulled
out and the streets were overwhelmed but then the
people on the streets were. You staggered; I can hear seven
languages and gunshots, guttural noises that might or might
not be speech I can’t understand, and I feel
you fall. It’s not that I couldn’t it’s only
the things I could fix would be smaller and
smaller until it’s only whether I could stand
up with you bleeding into my shoulder; thirty-one
years later I am only standing on this street.

III. Sundowners
This is where the oceans meet and mist and I swim
over that line over and over. The waves lick the rocks and
binoculars sweep the air above our
heads. Foam blinks on our toes. You’re terrified of me and
I of you and we chug champagne while fountains
of orange light liquefy the mountaintop.


  1. This is wonderfully lyrical! I would love to hear you read this.

  2. Thank you so much! I haven’t read it in a public forum in a while, but I’d be excited to do it again!

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