The Loneliest Road in America

Wyn Cooper

in memory of Kurt Brown

Dusk is the hour        between dog and wolf
howling and howling        where is my darlingwhy this highway        endless and stark
a zigzag line        across Nevadamirages rise        over vanishing points
out of focus        out of mindwhen the sun        drops from sight
le rayon vert        flares once and dissolvesmy car glides west        escorted by stars
miles of pavement        listening hardmy ears can’t block        the wails of coyotes
when I run out of gas        far from a townI find a red shirt        to wave for help
there are no cars        I need no helpI wave instead        at epitaphs
I find on stones        beside the highway

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Wyn  Cooper

Wyn Cooper has published four previous books of poetry, most recently Chaos is the New Calm (BOA Editions, 2010). His poems, stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, AGNI, The Southern Review, Five Points, Slate, and more than 100 other magazines. His poems are included in 25 anthologies of contemporary poetry, including Poetry: An Introduction, The Mercury Reader, Outsiders, and Ecstatic Occasions, Expedient Forms. www.wyncooper.com

“From the opening words of Mars Poetica, Wyn Cooper creates for us nothing less than a manual for memory. The word “reverie” punctuates these poems, and no wonder! For in this book, Cooper wanders and dreams whole continents, the pattern of a skirt, a song no longer playing, lost friends, former homes, spent years. What will we miss the most when we have left Earth? Everything Cooper gives us here and more.”
—Kathy Fagan

“Wyn Cooper’s poems are cold compresses for the inflamed mind. They calm and refresh with their clarity and lucidity; their music soothes and enlivens; their intelligence and their sure craft sustain us and confirm our faith in art. They are a perfect antidote for the fevers of our historical moment.”
—Vijay Seshadri

“There is a staccato quality to Wyn Cooper’s poetry that I admire, as if the words have been pried out of him. The poems’ brevity and their short phrases become telegraphic; they give his language a sense of urgency. But nothing is hurried. The poems move forward thoughtfully and gracefully, as they bear witness to the world’s fragility and to Mr. Cooper’s own.”
—Stephen Dobyns

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