Animals are creeping into my life. An orange cat. A yellow Lab. A motherless baby rabbit. I’m surrounded. And that’s just fine with me. As a kid, I spent a lot of my time watching TV alone in the basement, in the dark. They say we are what we do. A gun that might have belonged to Dillinger is wrapped in newspaper in the pantry, a flash of lightning made of shadow. It’ll blow the skin and muscle off bones.
The other day a woman was pulled from the canal unconscious and not breathing. That’s when I realized I should have done something sooner – hanged myself from a ceiling hook or bitten down on the muzzle of a gun. The point is, I’m not a happy person. I have cracks in one eye. I have gray teeth. It may be chromosomal. It may be environmental. It may just be what they call a lifestyle issue. There was a time I even envied the famous stone that people would go and kiss for luck. Eventually the stone melted. From kissing! Melted!
After the Epilogue
Small-time gods had been spitting off a rooftop onto the lives going on below. They tried to kill a witness, a child, to shut her up. At first I didn’t believe it. But then I was like, “OK, why not?” The ground was covered haphazardly in a dark sticky substance that made walking difficult. Taking slow, cautious steps, I got to the end of the dead-end road and passed through a hole in the fence. On the other side it was dusk, and maybe always was, no people anywhere, just stubble fields and a black dog with a red tongue.
Howie Good is the author of more than a dozen poetry collections, including most recently The Death Row Shuffle (Finishing Line Press), The Trouble with Being Born (Ethel Micro Press), and Gunmetal Sky (Thirty West Publishing).