Nervous-Green Forks and Spoons

(after the Newtown, CT, school massacre)

A blood berry,

on a make believe day,

nearer, does not get

listed among the milk trays
of cold nap cartons.

A teacher sitting
on a chair bled dry
chaperones the roving recess bell,

one blood berry shrieking or fewer,
one child or fewer,
perhaps gifted,
perhaps not,

and able to read
the book of spotted leaves,

(after each leaf has lost its tree).

Another fork,
another spoon reports

what’s been read inside an oven

where someone forgot
the sun that wants to chase
every past-tense window

and the sun
that wants to protect,
like a noun or a burn-pregnant
parent, what burns.

“Try, try, try,” the teacher says,

a story’s
of peppercorns

when it leads,
like the nurse who cares
at morning and the nurse
who cares at noon,

to the fuselage of a cold
lunch’s fork and knife
and napkin roll,


for a cry’s empty

(as some will say
a gun when it gets
close enough
can cry)

and for the blood berries
led by the mother
of the number used for quiet
the blood-coated
coat room

that doesn’t make a sound,

9:34 am
within the small bodies of the blood berries,
more than one,

more than one,

and then slowing
on their

The shaken windows
full of naps

can’t be searched
or wiped away
with anonymous

prayers that spread

in the time it takes
the floor to dry

all the way red,

one father kicking
the casings from here
to the finger-
painted music room

as it dries and hardens
to another inch
of a shoelace’s laughter
in a muted, single-file hallway,

all the way back
to one blood berry

(an Adam also that was a blood berry)

splashing at its bad dreams,
its bath water,
its apple juice
when it still obeyed.


Rob Cook lives in New York City’s East Village. He is the author of six collections, including Undermining of the Democratic Club (Spuyten Duyvil, 2014), Blueprints for a Genocide (Spuyten Duyvil, 2012) and Empire in the Shade of a Grass Blade (Bitter Oleander Press, 2013). Work has appeared in Asheville Poetry Review, Caliban, Fence, A cappella Zoo, Zoland Poetry, Tampa Review, Minnesota Review, Aufgabe, Caketrain, Many Mountains Moving, Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, Harvard Review, Colorado Review, Bomb (online), Sugar House Review, Mudfish, Pleiades, Versal, Weave, Wisconsin Review, Ur Vox, Heavy Feather Review, Phantom Drift, Osiris, etc.

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