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I go to bed sick and wake up no better – worse, in fact – emerging from the cellar of the twentieth century and blinking in the sudden light, where the locomotive, abandoned but burning, remains on the tracks, the erratic flames making a sound like a children’s party. At the door the guard stamps my hand so I can leave and return as I wish. I wish I was driving through the soft hills of evening with my elbow out the window.

Great mathematicians peering down from the roof might be able to compute in their heads how many steps it’d take me to cross the street while bleeding, and if they cared and weren’t constantly being accosted by counterfeit pleas from near hysterics, they’d be as surprised as I am that my beard is coming in gray and add a few more zeroes, for I was assured the sutures would dissolve, the heart eventually grow back, only to arrive early this morning to an unwashed blackboard, empty desks, a note blown on the floor, the ink still damp.

When the tree, in high dudgeon, suddenly pushes through the polished wood floor, and the congregation of small scared birds disbands in confusion, when the deaf despise the hearing, and the night janitor at the Museum of Mad Ideas wipes with special care the shatterproof glass under which Hitler’s voice rages, time’s up, and I shed my coat on the ground and lie down beside her, believing, as we curl gratefully into each other, what is real is whatever is faded or broken or falling.


by Howie Good

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