X's for Eyes

bare white trees

X's for Eyes

Howie Good


Years ago we loved life so much, everything in the world, including the air. The moral should be obvious. It’s big enough to be seen among the cacophony of windows. I’m just wondering what comes next, if we’ll only be able to view nature in assigned locations. You’ll go and sit in a dark room, surrounded by strangers. When you scream, only half of the people will understand.


I fell asleep to the rat-tat-tat of rain and dreamed I could breathe underwater. The grieving came later, when we learned there could be such a thing as too much sunshine. Animal rescuers cut open a whale’s belly on the beach and found coins and plastic water bottles inside. Maybe it was a cry for help, but maybe not. People were saying it was only a matter of time before those little white birds returned to pick clean the teeth of crocodiles. Meanwhile, the rain would be represented by a succession of broken lines, and death by x’s for eyes.


You arrive with 100 gallons of red paint, and all these people are thinking, “Oh my God,” while you work out the next steps that need to be taken. It kind of gives you something to do with your sadness. You serve an idea that doesn’t belong to you. There’s no way you can just stop. You’ve got to keep accelerating. The invisible world is teetering between becoming and dying, and it can go in either direction at any moment. So the answer is “no” should anyone happen to ask if every ray of light comes back to us.


Howie Good

Howie Good is the author most recently of "Stick Figure Opera" from Cajun Mutt Press, "What It Is and How to Use It" from Grey Book Press, and "Spooky Action at a Distance" from Analog Submission Press. He co-edits the online journals Unbroken and UnLost and teaches at the State University of New York at New Paltz.
X's for Eyes

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