VOICES FROM THE FIRE: Howie Good

Moments Like This Never Last

A recorded message assures me for what seems the twentieth time that my call is important. I want wings made of eyes before the hold music returns – “Winter” from Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons.” Somewhere in the future, a frighteningly cadaverous woman in blue scrubs who says her name is April asks, “On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the lowest, how severe is your pain?” Leaves on the trees immediately wither as the burning airship passes overhead. My wife refuses all offers of a ride. We cling together just like the words in a poem.

Dead Trees

For years, my condition remained undiagnosed. I was scarecrow thin and often cold, and I was always having to look up how to spell words whose spellings I suddenly couldn’t recall. When I went out in my black beret and belted black raincoat, I might have even been mistaken for the author who famously discouraged the use of semicolons. Or at least for some unhinged grammarian on a self-appointed mission to silence him. But just because my condition now has a name doesn’t mean it has a proven treatment. I watch in trepidation as these woods fill up with snow.

The Tongue Is All Muscle

Hours after,

I can still taste her

on my tongue, 

a briny flavor

beautiful 

on a gray day. 

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