A Journal

"I'm going to come back to West Virginia when this is over. There's something ancient and deeply-rooted in my soul. I like to think that I have left my ghost up one of those hollows, and I'll never really be able to leave for good until I find it. And I don't want to look for it, because I might find it and have to leave".----Breece D'J Pancake, in a letter to his mother. 

Cooper Wilhelm


We think we can see inside a diamond without tearing it apart  


And when the wall looks green
because of light reflected off of grass
outside the window, or looks red
because you parked your honda  
on the street, it is green
and it is

I don’t know which parts of you
I’m already adding to my me, 
my mimic’s simulacrum.  
Tell my body to me again  
with your fingers.     









Clock and Brambles

After James Wright  


I watched down your dirt road
as sparrows casted up their throats
through the autumn cold
and a dead hare hid beneath the oaks.  

You were always so much better
than I am at these moments
seeing the skeleton for every bone
before you threw them to winter.

The hare saw your son pressed
by your father’s hands
to your chest. 
Saw love’s fingers sink. 
You pulled it apart
so there is nothing to watch. 
It’s still in the trees.  

The rain is leaving footprints deeper
than mine in the dust. 
What will you say later about holding my wet shoulders
to feel them push up past the roots each spring?  

Your kitchen door was unlocked. 
I drifted in with the gray light
that hid from your stove’s tiny flame
in the shadows of molded iron. 



Wilhelm Author Photo.jpg

Cooper Wilhelm is the author of Klaatu Verata Nikto (Ghost City Press 2016), a microchapbook about necromancy and breakups; of DUMBHEART/STUPIDFACE (Siren Songs 2017); and of an as of yet untitled chapbook about pigs from Business Bear Press. He hosted Into the Dark, a radio show about witchcraft on Radio Free Brooklyn. He also sends poems on postcards to randomly selected strangers at


When I was a kid, I went to the tomb of St. Francis of Assisi and got a little relic with some dust from the tomb in a pendant made of metal and orange plastic. I spent years carrying it with me everywhere, even after I stopped being religious. One night in Brooklyn, I lost it. And around then started about two years of the absolute worst luck: lost my job, nasty breakup, had to take my landlord to court. Things are better now, but someday I need to go back to Assisi and get another one.