still life with firearms
It would be peaceful here
if it weren’t for the crucified thieves
writhing in the background.
A waiter with the red face of a seraph
sidles up and offers to show me to a table.
I hurry away as if I had somewhere to go.
Others remain at home with their belongings.
I walk until I’m lost. Later,
insects will fly gaily around the light
while I undress for bed in weary silence,
like an obscure municipal official
just returned from the famine zone.
the machinery of forgetting fears
In the ghetto of my heart
birds fly backwards
an old rabbi claws at the knots
in his tangled beard and as in
a scratchy black-and-white filmstrip
the boy from the orphanage
seeks the shelter of his parents’ bed
and if you’re awake like him
you can hear the room
being lit by heat lightning
also the murderer half-hidden
behind the pitted stone pillar
swear to passers-by he isn’t there
how was your day?
Like a secondhand truck,
smoke pouring out
from under the hood,
a man in a dirty baseball cap
beating at the flames with a towel.
Howie Good, a journalism professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz, is the author of eight poetry chapbooks. He has been nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize and twice for the Best of the Net anthology. His first full-length book of poetry, Lovesick, is forthcoming from The Poetry Press of Press Americana.