You didn’t look like you anymore. I wasn’t there even when I was. We were living a life of shadows, of echoes, and with some particles capable of switching between the two. “Hey,” the train conductor said, “you all right?” I was like yes, yes, yes, I want to do this. Out the window, I saw these arched backs, these women working side by side in the fields, and then an old barn sagging under the blood and gold of sundown.
We’re living in very unusual times, and more than a few women read true crime books about serial killers just to gather survival tips. “OK,” they silently remind themselves, “I don’t get into the Volkswagen.” Some know what a knuckle duster is. Some were named after characters in now-defunct soap operas. Some, as a joke, take selfies in the spotted mirrors of public restrooms. Some are depressed on Sundays. You want to find out if this is in you. I’m no psychologist, or any other kind of -ologist, but, before you go to bed at night, look at the darkness.
I’ve given up trying to translate bird language into English. Nothing can persuade the crows in particular to speak clearer, whether they’re confessing petty crimes, or bragging, or retelling jokes. This might be more bearable if the dark wasn’t so dark. When I strike a match, a confusing mist surrounds the flame. At times I resolve to become like the drunks who, sufficiently enraged, can just shrug off the effects of being tasered. Other times what interests me isn’t success, but love, how the next person adds onto it without knowing all its nimble and sinister tricks.
Howie Good is the author most recently of Stick Figure Opera: 99 100-word Prose Poems from Cajun Mutt Press. He co-edits the online journals Unbroken and UnLost.