Craig Cotter

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From J. Michael Reilly

You told me
with no sense of tragedy
what good fortune it was
the year before
when you were 23

the old light board
had electrocuted the boy running it.

You’d told the district
it wasn’t safe,
but they’d blown-off the 23-year-old teacher
fresh from The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in New York.

That after the boy’s death
you insisted on a professional, theatre-grade light board.
You guilted the school board
into buying the one you wanted,
a system far beyond what any high school in Michigan had—
50,000 1974 dollars—
but we deserved it.
They’d ignored your warnings,
let a teen die,
but not for art.


Craig Cotter was born in 1960 in New York and has lived in California since 1986.  His poems have appeared in California Quarterly, Chiron Review, Columbia Poetry Review, Court Green, The Gay & Lesbian Review, Great Lakes Review, Hawai’i Review, & Tampa Review. His fourth book of poems, After Lunch with Frank O’Hara, is currently available on Amazon.