Two Poems by Corey D. Cook

High School Yearbook Addendum #3

The flag is at half-mast
for my grandmother –
a well-known alumna.

And I am bleary-eyed
and inconsolable
in the hallway.

Absentmindedly carrying around
my Algebra 1 textbook –
its frivolous problems.

As I pass locker
after locker.

Each one a casket
waiting to be opened.

Waiting to be closed.


Visiting My Mentor and His Wife at the Nursing Home

He says, I am worried about Theresa.
She won’t eat.

And I find that her body
has become an anchor,
angular and unmoving,
at rest under a sea
of starched linen,
that her chin is raised,
that her eyes move
from one side of the room
to the other
as she clenches her teeth,

I speak to her,
reach out,
but she does not respond,
the pain all-consuming,
soul relinquishing.

The next time I visit…
her bed is empty.

I am all alone, he declares
as I sit by his side,
unsure of what to say,
what to do,
finally think to ask,
Remind me again how
the two of you met
and she comes back to us again.


Corey D. Cook’s sixth chapbook, Junk Drawer, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2022. His poems have recently appeared in *82 Review, Black Poppy Review, Duck Head Journal, Freshwater Literary Journal, Muddy River Poetry Review, Naugatuck River Review, Nixes Mate Review, South Florida Poetry Review, and Spare Change News. Corey lives in East Thetford, Vermont.