Cynthia Good

I lost two days

to horsetails waving

like furling flags

in the pasture and woke


to a woman, dark

with braids and eyelashes 

long as leaves on a fern.

She sat beside me


at her computer, to be 

with me as I came to.

I don’t recall her name, 

only that she gave me


apple juice with ice chips

and graham crackers

in bite-sized pieces. 

The road home buckled 


with potholes and my wrists 

fell limp in an anesthesia 

cloud, my arm bandaged 

where a nurse tried 


to slip a needle into a vein 

pale as a green thread.

Is it Ok? I asked hoping 

for the answer I wanted.


No it’s not OK. I did it wrong 

and the blood is going 

backwards. My boyfriend 

carried my black raincoat


and drove me home 

and warmed soup and I 

slept deliriously 

for three days, until 


I heard the birds again. I 

remember buttered sourdough, 

silver telephone pole trees 

laced together with ribbons 


of apple green and the way 

chainsaws cried in the distance

making way for newcomers 

patrolling like hungry dogs.

My books press their bodies,

one on top of another,

Women Icons of the 20th Century 

on the bottom, bearing the weight 


of it all. Portraits above. 

The Matisse paintings topple out 

by themselves, pages which belonged 


to my grandmother Lena who kept it 

on her yellow crocodile end table 

in the den. Part of its spine has split 


tattered by curious fingers— 

much like me. My mother’s Collected 

Works floats on top in its shiny, new

 

post-mortem purple and royal blue, 

as pinkie-width feathers keep slipping 

from pillows and the couch. I found 


one on the stove, another on the floor 

near my bed. It’s like they’re looking 

for a better place, out the window,


twisting six floors down, to land 

in another universe on a bench, beside 

a girl who might believe it’s a sign.

Last Quarter Void of Course Aquarius Moon

Soft-shoeing down Peachtree Street 

Between bulldozer dust and the din 

Of angry traffic, another wreck 


In front of my loft, track marks in circles 

On the street, track marks on my arm

From the surgery, tracking violence, 


Spa shootings on Piedmont Road,

Racing and road rage on I-20. Angst 

Melts on my tongue with fig gelato, 


My hand smelling of salmon 

And jalapeño since the Velvet Taco 

Doesn’t offer forks unless you ask.

 

Little is provided anywhere unless 

You ask. And if you ask, you are 

Asking for it, Greedy bitch. I imagine 


A marshmallow poker poking through 

My heart. For so long I lived like the last 

Tree in a ruined forest, like a record

 

Snapped over the knee, a mouth

Red-lipped and rough in Georgia 

Clay, reminding me of its opposite.


As I think of the lights of Calabria 

At dusk across the Straight of Messina 

From Taormina, like dancers waltzing 


On a shiny stage, I come back to 

The homeless man laid out in the sun

In front of me here on Peachtree, 


On this the first warm day of Spring. 

His arms overhead in repose, Buddha 

Smile on his lips, his skin rich 


As the night. One shoe on, the other

Leg crossed, barefoot and tapping

To a song I will never hear.

King Plow, Atlanta,
the Last Sunday in February

Every leaf is green,

even the northwind switchgrass 

on my side of the tracks.

Wheels from a long train,

 

thirty feet away pound 

inside my chest. The train and I 

breathe in sync. 

The metal rattles, 


a metronome 

moving, while I do not shift

in my seat. This week 

my friend’s brother 

shot himself,

as my father did a decade ago. 

And I still want to tell him,

at night here the leaves 

sway like people dancing.



Cynthia Good has written six books including Vaccinating Your Child, which won the Georgia Author of the Year award. She has launched two magazines, Atlanta Woman and the nationally distributed PINK magazine for women in business. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in journals including Adanna Journal, Awakenings, Book of Matches, Brickplight, Bridgewater International Poetry Festival, Cutthroat, Free State Review, Full Bleed, Main Street Rag, Maudlin House Review, Outrider Press, OyeDrum Magazine, The Penmen Review, Pensive Journal, Persimmon Tree, Pier-Glass Poetry, Pink Panther Magazine, Poydras, South Shore Review, The Ravens Perch, Reed Magazine, Tall Grass, Terminus Magazine, They Call Us, and Voices de la Luna and Willows Wept Review among others. A new chapbook from Finishing Line Press will be published next year.