Howie Good

Autumn’s Menace

A plainclothes policeman, using a pair of handcuffs as brass knuckles, cut the face of a boy who was wandering the city in a hospital gown. The sirens got louder. Windows rattled and the pictures on the walls shook. Sometimes I think it isn’t true that teaching a child to not step on a caterpillar will make you a better person. Sometimes I think the plainclothesman is going to walk through the door, so I just keep waiting. The city streets are deserted – no St. Patrick’s Day parade, no people. In these slow days of unease, everyone is a biohazard.


I am writing

at the kitchen table,

or, rather,

struggling to,

when my wife

excitedly calls me

to the window

and points down

into the yard

where a doe

with a coat

just a shade

from golden

is browsing

on fallen leaves

that, if it wasn’t

for the hours

I spend trying

to make poems,

I would have

burned long ago.

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