Howie Good

TWO POEMS
SHEOL 

1

I walk out without you
into the greasy smoke of evening.

After thirteen days in bed,
there’s so much still to suffer 

that lifting your face
for a goodbye kiss 

feels like an interruption. 

2

You board
an empty train
in the cold
and dark
and travel
to a country
where you’re
the only
inhabitant.

3

Mother died
on Wednesday.

I look up. 

Row upon row
of windows
rise out of sight, 

the same
half-eaten face
in each one. 

Mine.

4

I’m dressed in a French-cut suit
the color of a cloudy day. 

A cadaver dog approaches,
hesitant and mannerly. 

There’s no effective pill.
There never was.

5

A kitchen chair
sits empty 

out under an enormous
chestnut tree 

whose right hand
has lost
its cunning.
THE GOLDEN AGE 

1

Everyone’s head was full of words and stories, maps of sorts, and when they shut
their eyes, they saw a white summer dress dashed with blood. People were rarely
lonely. If they killed, it was for the same reasons that bridges sometimes fail.

2

Dot-dot-dash in Morse code means “u.” A man jammed a fistful into his mouth. He
had climbed the iron staircase toward a rumor of angels, what they call Rembrandt
Lighting. Somewhere a heart was powering down. A horse-drawn ambulance
eventually shambled into view. The sky by then was small and vague. 

3

The weather inside isn’t that good either, soft, gray flakes, like the warm ashes
of clouds. I’m getting ready to go to the other room. If you want something to
happen, act like you don’t and then maybe it will.

4

Is it still winter there where you are? Do you have a dancing monkey to help you get
through it? Here everything calls out to everything else. No one regrets that the first
paint was probably animal blood. Only the birds seem kind of glum, black-capped
chickadees with pebbles for eyes.
Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of the
new poetry collection, 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:
https://sites.google.com/site/rhplanding/howie-good-dreaming-in-red. He is
also the author of numerous chapbooks, including most recently The Devil’s
Fuzzy Slippers from Flutter Press.

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