Howie Good

Burning Embers Falling

Your body’s trembling. Can anyone come up with an innocent explanation for this? Hmm? It’s not the same as a normal night of sleep. Look up there. There appears to be exactly one person standing under an open black umbrella. That’s not quite what I want.


We see the glare of phones being checked, e-mails being sent. We see burning embers falling. I should close my eyes. I really should. When there’s blood and fire all around you, that’s war. I’ll be lucky if I see one of my house’s walls still standing. That debris is strange stuff. Looking all the way down to the bottom, you can see bright stupid confetti.


The leaves are erupting in morbid colors, Dragon’s Blood, Uranium Yellow, Mummy Brown. Everything else has failed. I can’t remember now why I ever thought it wouldn’t. I’m afraid of human beings. There’s just too much about them that’s hidden and unknowable. I don’t belong here. I need to go. My grandmother when I was little would pick up a spider she found in the house and put it back outside.


I remember the sound, like the roar of a waterfall in a hurricane. Strange that all these years later I still can’t bring myself to watch the YouTube video. The sadness will last forever. I’m told sugar can help if you have problems with shaking or trembling. It’s nighttime and deep, and this is who I am. I can hear them – I can hear the gas grenades all up and down the streets. The crowd is being pushed back, and the gas is coming. A third jump in, a third resist but soon give up, a third try to hide. I’ll just make sure I get some rest whenever I can.





Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of The Loser’s Guide to Street Fighting, winner of the 2017 Lorien Prize for Poetry from Thoughtcrime Press. He co-edits White Knuckle Press with Dale Wisely.