by Jack Cooper

Sunday morning
in the horn of winter
the only excitement
the finches and juncos
ingesting the optimism
of fall lawn seed

The cat gives them little but an ear twitch
from his supine corner of cold light
having tasted these tiny hearts
but given in to the bowl
in his advanced age
105 by our formula

The plum tree is dropping
its last purple lifeboats
of spiders and white flies
which I pick up by hand
allowing the rake to continue
its exhausted lean against the wall

Nothing in the garden
looks content
to my critical eye
burnt around the edges
lackluster hanging on
to past glories

Even the wind seems lost
after breaking its
engagement to form
in the uncountable distance
between here and
something to hold on to


Jack Cooper’s first poetry collection, Across My Silence, was
published by World Audience in 2007.  His work has been chosen
as a finalist for the
North American Review’s 2011 James Hearst
Poetry Prize and for the 2014 Eco Arts Award in Creative
Excellence, and he was the winner of the 2015 Annual Flash
Contest from
Flash Fiction Chronicles.  Cooper’s poetry, flash
fiction, and mini-plays have appeared in
Slant, Bryant Literary
, Santa Fe Literary Review, North American Review,
and other publications.  He is a contributing editor at
KYSO Flash.

On “Uncountable Distance”:
Our little house in the San Fernando Valley had been moved
there in the ’50s when the cattle ranches were broken up for real
estate.  Rich, loamy soils had developed in this broad flood plain
of a tributary to the Los Angeles River, long since engineered into
a series of cement channels.  You could grow anything there, like
in most of California, as long as you had enough water.  Winter
in the Valley is not so much a season as a breathing period
between the fecund fall and the splashy spring.  The light, rarely
interrupted by clouds, is still omnipresent this time of year, but
cold, in Southern California terms.  The leaves continue to drop,
species by species, in accordance with their internal clocks, which
evolved in other environments, since very little native still
survives in these artificial neighborhoods.  So it is that the wind
searches in vain for fulfillment.   

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 10, Number 2
(Fall 2015)

Copyright © 2015
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.