Three Poems • Howie Good


Skulls sprout wings.
I was talking about this
just last night. There’s
nothing any of us can do
about it either, not even
crouch under tiny desks
as we did in Miss Dolan’s
class during duck-and-
cover drills. It’s my life,
dammit, a rising mushroom
cloud, untitled and dated
1951. A photographer with
an old-style box camera
on a tripod, a funereal
black cloth draped over
his head and shoulders,
goes on adjusting the lens.
I wait at some slight distance
to be told when to smile.


A Spotted Cat

I turned from the window
to put my cup down,

and when I turned back,
the spotted cat that had been easing
along the low rock wall

with the exaggerated leisure
of a tightrope walker

was gone

and nothing to show
that it had even been there

but for a pale shadow,
a shimmer, a song somehow
sung without any singing.



Some days
I walk to think,
some days
just to escape,

but today, today
I found myself
in archaic woods,

the bristly spikes
of bare trees,
a spidery light,

the hateful look
my father used
to give me that said,
What are you,