Howie Good

Thoughts and Prayers

The recorded message assures me yet again 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 a burning airship passes overhead. My wife refuses all offers of a ride. We cling together just like the words in a poem.


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. 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.


Such sights! Smashed-in skulls and severed feet and angels covered in blood. Like a nasty drunk, your God has been exceptionally belligerent of late. Small furry animals have crawled out of their holes for a look. The horizon is burning from one end to the other. A gun goes off. Strangers on social media offer thoughts and prayers. Even then, the sadness will last forever.


Howie Good is the author of Failed Haiku,  a poetry collection that is the co-winner of the 2021 Grey Book Press Chapbook Contest. It is scheduled for publication in summer 2022.