By and By

Hayes Cooper


after Boys in a Pasture –W. Homer (1874)

You two, lying back together
because none of us has to work,
pick grass and taste tonight’s salt pork
waft from the smokehouse over the pasture

and play back the gun’s crack. The dead squirrel
almost looked alive. Dad didn’t
have to sell the land. I see the sun glint
all down your white cotton shirts

now myself down here among you, low,
the youngest brother, not minding
the dirt wet from rain that morning
seeping through to my knees and elbows

because I need to get close to you.
I’m afraid. Bare feet that chased and kicked
now arched and cleaned. You can’t trick
me – you trained me to know that though

the sky feels beautiful, you do not
say it out loud. Something must have happened –
which of us saw that hearse come rollin’
for to carry where I’m brought?

Return to Fall 2018 Volume 10.1


Hayes Cooper photo


HAYES COOPER recently graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While there, he completed a senior thesis in poetry and was the poetry editor of Cellar Door. He works as a professor’s assistant in Boston and as a web editor for Four Way Review. He is from Nashville, Tennessee.