Sh-Boom, Sh-Boom by Howie Good

Sh-Boom, Sh-Boom
Mother awakened me in the morning. There was now a lake of ash where there had never been one and behind it a pair of wrinkled mountains like a giant’s cracked, dusty boots. Birds on a fence idiotically chanted, “Sh-boom, sh-boom.” I picked up a stone and threw it without taking careful aim. Some people who were passing would later say the expression on my face made everything worse. I hadn’t even realized I was smiling.
Life there felt a lot like life elsewhere – steel bars on windows and suicide nets on roofs. Hatchet-faced men in leather trench coats would grab people right off the street. The last words of a prisoner were eerily prophetic. “Ah,” he said, “the cows. . .” Work parties threw the corpses in ovens or down wells, often slaving at rifle point through the night.
The angels were dry-mouthed and sweaty and feeling like they hadn’t slept for days. A rogue herd of cows in gas masks had stampeded. I stared out at the sign by the church when I should have been watching the road. Love Like Jesus, it said. Nice sentiment, I thought, as the sun sank in a profusion of toxic colors, a ship full of chemicals burning intently at the edge of the world.

Howie Good is the author of more than a dozen poetry collections, including most recently Gunmetal Sky (Thirty West Publishing).



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