Hilltop Cemetery

Featured art: River Village in a Rainstorm by Lu Wenying

By Brendan Cooney

How many of you said,
“How I prayed for the day to pass quickly.”

How many said,
“I didn’t care about the result
even if I did achieve it.”

How many of you said,
“I dreamed of making them like me,
if only for my elevation of thought
and unmistakable wit.”

How many of you said,
“I was ridiculously exaggerating the facts,
but how could I help it?”

How many said,
“I could not control myself and
was already shaking with fever.”

Who said,
“Then followed three years of gloomy memories.”

Did anyone say,
“If it’s gonna be shame, bring it;
if it’s gonna be disgrace, I’ll take it;
if it’s gonna be degradation, welcome;
the worse it is, the better.”

How many of you said,
“Strangeness is not a vice.”

How many said,
“I needed a friend, so much.”


Brendan Cooney is a poet and anthropologist from Maryland. His work has recently appeared in Spillway, Sugar House Review, New Verse News, and Prairie Schooner. His collection, American Centrifuge, was selected as a finalist for the 2017 Four Way Books Levis Prize in Poetry. He lives in Greenland.

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