Howie Good is the author of THE DEATH ROW SHUFFLE, a poetry collection forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.
Church and State
Joggers, dog walkers, and couples with baby strollers slowed down when they noticed the church had fine black cracks etched all over. The expression on most faces was a combination of surprise and puzzlement. At first they weren’t sure what they were seeing. But then they were like, “OK, why not?” There was a time they might have hurled projectiles at the police and passed cobblestones to one another to build barricades on a street already ablaze. Now, with daylight fading, three boys I mentally dubbed the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost just played on the carcass of a burned-out car.
The relationship among spatially dislocated but simultaneous events is difficult for a lay person like me to fathom. Einstein, in illustrating the relativity of simultaneity, presumed that one observer was sitting midway on a speeding train and another was standing on a platform as the train moved past. Other physicists have since added exotic details to Einstein’s illustration, such as muzzle flashes momentarily lighting up the inside of the cars. There is no mention anywhere, though, of a shooter or even of an investigator, notebook in hand, later walking the length of the train counting the bullet holes.
The House of Dead Leaves
I was writing on my laptop at the kitchen table – or, rather, struggling to – when my wife called me to the window in an urgent whisper. She pointed down into the yard. A doe, its coat only a shade or so away from gold, was feeding on the fallen leaves that blanketed the ground. My wife was enthralled, but my head was full of black static, echoes and shadows that were refusing to resolve into recognizable words. As I watched with something close to impatience, the deer went on blissfully browsing the leaves that a person who doesn’t waste time trying to make poems would have raked into pyres and burned long ago.