Howie Good


“Thin wall. Do not push,” the woman on duty warned. She had the same name as the French province, according to her name tag, and silver ribbons of artificial light tangled in her hair. I asked around. Nobody could say when it was that the hospital began admitting children. Every day 200,000 people – give or take – die. Shoot me in the chest, Mussolini said, and they did before he was halfway through his next sentence. It can be hard sometimes to distinguish sunset from flaming trombones.


I was born at six in the evening. Rumors that the doctor wore black gloves are untrue. A mouth rimmed in salt pressed against mine. I thought I was dead. I wished I was dying.

There were five men in the café with hats before them on the table. I murmured into my walkie-talkie while glancing frequently in their direction. Under one of the hat was a revolver. The sky tilted, but only for an instant.

I came to a fence and climbed over it and then realized I had forgotten my book bag on the other side. A bird fluttered up. Not everybody knew all the words, and still the air was full of beautiful voices.

The falcon was sometimes called a sparrowhawk. A woman’s body might be searched, but it couldn’t give that information. Another policeman groped beneath the cushions for change. The moon rose before day even ended. Always remember, light and shadow never stand still. I took the road that the arrow indicated I should. Leaves trembled with the effort to suppress the onslaught of tears.


I turn down the alley behind the empty strip mall.
Angels in dark glasses sit along the edge of the loading dock,
swinging their pale legs & waiting.
The fruit they tried lies discarded on the ground.
I taste rather than smell smoke.
The most mysterious thing is a fact clearly stated.
I’ll be found – perhaps not until years later –
wandering the streets wearing only one shoe.

Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of four poetry collections, most recently Dreaming in Red, from Right Hand Pointing. All proceeds from the sale of the book go to a crisis center, which you can read about here. He is also the author of numerous chapbooks, including The Devil’s Fuzzy Slippers from Flutter Press and Personal Myths from Writing Knights Press. He has two other chapbooks forthcoming, Fog Area from Dog on a Chain Press and The Death of Me from Pig Ear Press.
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