The birds shit while they sing. Insects eat the bird shit. The birds eat the insects. Students nod as if they understand, and the older I get, the worse it gets, the heart a failed crop, a revolutionary hunted by the czar’s police. There must be somebody somewhere who still knows how many volts it takes to humanely kill a healthy man. The wind thrusts its beak into me.
When we see birds in the evening, Camus said, we always think of them as heading home. I’m lying on a king bed in the first motel off the exit, a region famous for grapes and cemeteries. On the History Channel, the Nazis are invading Russia again. Don’t you hear those guns? In the morning I’ll walk out to the parking lot as if shadowed by the man Chekhov said we should hire to hit us with a hammer when we’re happy—and who has, of course, a face like trampled snow.
When you knock on a door, do you knock just once? Something knocked twice upon my heart and then vamoosed. Birds nested in the blackened ruins. If this were a story, the birds would feed me and the future wouldn’t have pebbles for eyes.
BIO: Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Dreaming in Red from Right Hand Pointing and Cryptic Endearments from Knives Forks & Spoons Press. He has four chapbooks forthcoming: Elephant Gun from Dog on a Chain Press, The Death of Me from Pig Ear Press, Living Is the Spin Cycle from Red Bird Chapbooks, and Strange Roads from Puddle of Sky Press.