Ravine by Jonathan Cooper

June sky, graduation day. Seldom worn suits

shuffled through the sun towards the high school gym,

while behind fluttered lines of black gowns.

Amongst the graduates, three letters apart,

a young couple -- broken homes, broken

blue truck.  In the sun, on the last day anyone

saw them before they disappeared.


Underbrush overtook the taillights, as friends

and teachers talked up where they could be –

on a beach in Panama, their toes pressed

into white sand, or holding hands halfway

across the Mostar Bridge, or winding their way

through the stone canyons of some great city.

They were gone enough seasons for

her mother to sober up, to put a fifth birthday

photo of her on the trailer wall, above

a few candles that were mostly kept lit.


Twenty summers on, less than a mile from

that high school gym, a hiker wandered off

the trail. And just about to turn back,

he saw between the ferns the mossy outline

of a fender.


Lights blinked, buried in the ravine.

His hand between her legs, her head lolled

on his shoulder, both dying, both dead, pressed

against the dashboard.  Evergreens bore witness,

reached down, covered them with shadows,

breeze blowing Summer into Fall, into frost.


The branches lifted

just enough to let the sun through

and so he found them. Entwined

where they had landed in the ravine,

the same June day they disappeared.

Jonathan Cooper
Jonathan Cooper

Jonathan Cooper's poems and essays have appeared in various publications including New Plains Review, Houseboat Literary Magazine, Tower Journal, The Statesman Journal, and The Commonline Journal. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, he studied in Oregon and Toronto, and now lives Vancouver, BC.