The 2River View 23.2 (Winter 2019)

Howie Good

Mortal Thoughts

1. Death’s Little Apprentice

gets down on the floor
and fits himself somewhat awkwardly

into the chalk outline of a body,
but after just a minute or so,

struggles back up to his feet,
dusts off the seat of his pants,

and stands there sort of trembling,
a flash of lightning made of shadow.

2. Rehearsals for Extinction

Once a week, every week, skip in front
of a moving train, or swallow a near fatal
overdose of pills, maybe hang yourself
for some seconds from a ceiling hook,
or experimentally slide a razor blade
across a vein, maybe bite down hard
on the muzzle of a gun, or at least notice
those don’t look like normal clouds up there,
but angels with blood on their sneakers.

3. The Colonel of the Dead

after flexing
his cramped fingers,

records your name
in black ink
on black paper,

then lies back
with a weary sigh
on a sun chair,

pink high tops
crossed at the ankles.

Howie Good is the author of The Loser’s Guide to Street Fighting, winner of the 2017 Lorien Prize from Thoughtcrime Press; and Dangerous Acts Starring Unstable Elements, winner of the 2015 Press Americana Prize for Poetry.

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