Dark Blue

I hear crying. The crying goes on all night. My heart tries to sleep, but can’t. I watch it walk away. I watch for a long time. I watch my heart until it’s out of sight. It never looks back. It doesn’t wave. And then the street fills with bruised shoes and the invention of gunpowder.

My heart returns in a dark overcoat, the brim of its hat pulled low. It talks rapidly, but also with a stutter, like a tommy gun. The couples at the other tables look away. There are various theories as to why. My heart draws a rough map on the back of an envelope. In the piney woods a fat and bleeding sheriff is tied to a tree and crying for mercy.

I huddle around the trash barrel with a jury of my peers. Although spring, the days are gray and shabby, and the police overtly suspicious. My heart holds its hands out toward the fire. There’s much to say, but no one speaks, afraid to upset the silence following upon the collapse of the great newspapers.

My heart knows what’s right. It doesn’t know how it knows, but it knows and opens like a red-tinged blossom under the weight of its knowledge. The ropes and pulleys stop; the Napoleonic soldiers stop dragging the peasant girl off into the woods; the clouds stop drifting. I wait for further explanation. None comes. In the gray grainy light from the window, the blossom is a dark inadvertent blue.

Howie Good is a journalism professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz. He is the author of seven poetry collections, including Tomorrowland (2008) from Achilles Chapbooks in print and The Torturer’s Horse (2009) from Recycled Karma Press online. He has been nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize and twice for the Best of the Net anthology.