Winter 2005-6

Howard Good


My father, suddenly aged,
works ghostly sums in his head,
the number of houses on fire,
the number of bones in the casket.
Pills don’t seem to help;
whether face up or face down,
the cards leave the same puddles
of shadow on the table.
“Y is a crooked letter,” he says
to the man in the tailored suit
who radiates a strident bonhomie
like the concierge of hell.
The windows run with rain,
though the air itself is fiery dust.
I look up at the sound, using my finger,
tender where I nicked it yesterday
with a knife, to mark my place.

Howard Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of the poetry chapbook, Death of the Frog Prince (FootHills Publishing, 2004). His poems have appeared in numerous journals and e-zines, including Right Hand Pointing, Stirring, Slow Trains, Plum Ruby Review, Wilmington Blues, The Rose & Thorn, 2River View, and Lily.



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