Small Town Living
My heart is a town so small it doesn’t have a doctor or a cop or a priest, doesn’t even have anyone on standby to plow the roads in winter or fill in the potholes in spring, and maybe that’s why people say all those teeth-rattling, bone-jarring things about me, but you ignore what people say and undo your buttons and unpin your hair, and then it’s like daylight at night, the light streaming in on a soft slant, poking at the black seeds in the corners and the weeds in the flowerboxes, stirring the town back to stunned life.
The doctors say anger can give you a heart attack or stroke, and anxiety can give you cancer. I’m often angry, and when I’m not angry, I’m often anxious. Rivers of darkness are expanding and spilling, and a mass shooter has tweeted, “If you see me, weep.” Dazed mothers wander through a bombed-out city with their dead children draped over their arms. This could be just one more sign that the end is about to begin. While we wait, some demand proof, some wear hazmat suits, some only sigh. I’ve painted my beard blue and stuck gold stars on it.
Howie Good is the author most recently of What It Is and How to Use It from Grey Book Press.