Death arrived astride various comets. Clocks cried out & cows & hens, too, what may
have accounted for the mass disappearance of light. A woman with the featureless face
of a mannequin crossed a shabby side street in Zurich. The clouds directly overhead
bulged obscenely. Invisible networks of trenches were everywhere & tiny dark lanterns
by which it was hard, though never impossible, to see.
The commotion of the new was fading. There were numerous refugees & exiles,
enormous heads perched on famished little bodies. I was denied membership for having
a bourgeois face. Smoke flecked with ashes drove against us. No one wanted to turn
back. The shadows & ghosts of murderers haunted the surrounding forest. They had
tears in their eyes, but couldn’t sob.
The season slowed to allow the woman in a cervical collar to catch up. I found old bus
tickets, string, pieces of wood, & playing cards in my pocket. The woman suggested that
I try using a different name. If I put my ear to her chest, I could hear the grating of the
sea. “What advice do you have for young people?” the sea asked. When I was little, a
dull, damp, hazy sky hovered over our dying town, the roads lit up brightly by burning
houses. Now there are no trees at all, only the convulsions of black-&-white branches.
Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of the full-length poetry collections Lovesick (Press Americana, 2009), Heart With a Dirty Windshield (BeWrite Books, 2010), and Everything Reminds Me of Me (Desperanto, 2011), as well as numerous print and digital poetry chapbooks, including most recently Love Dagger from Right Hand Pointing.