What unnameable would throw this on the floor,
noon refracted through blue windows
here, Newark Airport, first day of summer,
my flight cancelled, no new flight in sight—
this slice of cerulean, unwavering, clear blue
more indescribable for never being asked for?
It’s mine, this hue Fra Angelico could pull
out of a virgin’s gown, one of his sacred families.
Everyone passing has somewhere else to go,
I think, since no one else comes to share this.
An hour, two, all afternoon, I stare
but see no Christ, no Mary, just gold leaf
such as the Masters inscribed about their figures,
such as I have encircled in these words,
trying to pretend I hold down the world—
as if words could fixate the blue in place
if I can keep renaming it…azure,
cobalt, robin’s egg, azure—names I still don’t know—
blue which, as I speak, begins to waver,
heaven-bound? or pooling? night’s first shadows.
Peter Cooley has published nine books of poetry, eight of them with Carnegie Mellon, the most recent of which is Night Bus to the Afterlife. He lives in New Orleans, where he is the Senior Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Tulane. He has poems in recent issues of The New Yorker, The Southern Review, The Sewannee Review, The Hopkins Review, and other magazines.
Feature image by Kevin Cooley.
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