by Best Poem
I stagger out the door under an armload of poems,
feverish red ones, friendless gray ones,
dark purple ones like the aftertaste of a scream.
Women cross the street to avoid me.
Cars honk in derision. Nobody asks, Hey,
do you need help with those?
Even the panhandler outside the 7-Eleven
points and snickers, and a little girl
hides her frightened face in her mother’s skirt.
Later, hurled bottles will explode at my feet,
there’ll be police and questions, but for now,
the jocks in the high school parking lot
are still scheming, and I stare as if in challenge
into the hooded eyes of storefronts,
nod hello to words – snapdragon, clawhammer –
almost too beautiful and broken to repeat.
Howie Good, a journalism professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz, is the author of three poetry chapbooks, Death of the Frog Prince (2004) and Heartland (2007), both from FootHills Publishing, and Strangers & Angels (2007) from Scintillating Publications. He was recently nominated for the second time for a Pushcart Prize.