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Nervous Disorder by Howie Good


The sign outside the office said, You are requested to close your eyes. She did. In those far-off days, illnesses had other names – bloody flux, Bright’s disease, consumption. Her doctor was so deaf he needed an ear trumpet to be able to hear the patients screaming in pain.




Traveling through streets of winos, we held hands, the driver taking us wherever he had been paid to go. You spoke of home, the fog, a funeral attended by only four mourners. I wanted to say something, too, but it was now night and rainy, and I had just enough body to keep a soul in.




The newspaper advertises the apocalypse. I think about changing my name and leaving, but can’t while the sparrows in the street are talking about me. And where’s there to go, anyway, on a morning being built from cannibalized parts?




Everyone I know who has a job hates it. When the alarm on the heart monitor starts to shrill, the nurse covers her ears.




It could happen. A virus appears in my email claiming to be you. And though there’s no wind, the puddles shiver.



Howie Good, a journalism professor at State University of New York at New Paltz, is the author of the new poetry collection, Dreaming in Red, from Right Hand Pointing. All proceeds from the sale of the book go to a crisis center, which you can read about here:

His chapbook, The Devil’s Fuzzy Slippers, has just been published by Flutter Press.

© 2012 Howie Good