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Three Poems by Howie Good
"Anomalous," "At the Circus," and "Death Song"
I was sitting on the edge of the hospital bed, fully dressed and waiting to be discharged, when Jesus pushed aside the privacy curtain. In a voice tinged with concern, he told me that the surgeon had found something troubling lurking under my skin. He didn’t know exactly what, but it was a rare type of anomaly. There would be weeks of unbroken darkness ahead, my endurance tested as though I were on one of those doomed 19th-century expeditions to the South Pole, where the last surviving members resorted in their desperation to cannibalism. Then he nodded at me and left. Black ants working in concert went on quietly chewing through the restless, rustling leaves of my heart.
At the Circus
I found myself stranded without a map or compass, a weekend sailor shipwrecked in the middle of history, no place anyone would choose on their own to go, home to shit talkers, freaks, depressives, religious nuts, and sociopaths, including one with a special interest in Kafka and his twice-broken engagement to Felice and another who took my phone and all my money and then, as if we had been intimate, shared with me a sort of postcoital cigarette and the secret of how clowns get inside very small cars in very large numbers.
Everything has changed, and nothing has. It still rains when the forecast says it won’t. Hummingbirds still come to the oriole feeder. The angel of history still hosts orgies of torture and murder. Doors still open from both sides. The abandoned buildings of defunct chain restaurants are still being converted into churches. My wife still dresses in Bohemian chic, a tattered czarina. A disfiguring scar still snakes across the back of my shoulder where the cancer took root. I still put drops in my eyes first thing in the morning as if there’s an afterwards I still have a chance of seeing.
About the poet:
Howie Good's newest poetry collection, Heart-Shaped Hole, which also includes examples of his handmade collages, is available from Laughing Ronin Press. He co-edits the online journal UnLost, dedicated to found poetry.