personal history by Howie Good

At one job interview, I’m asked the last book I read. I have to think a moment. The Big Book of Baby Names. In this country, you can easily become the sort of person you never wanted to be, broken statuary along your path, a secret hiding place just ahead, schoolgirls whispering behind their hands.

April unfolds explosively, leaf by blackÂÁspotted leaf. The world becomes so overloaded that it tilts far to one side. I turn back at the thought of encountering a pregnant homeless woman shuffling along a street of pawnshops and check cashing stores. The green envelope that appears among the mail contains an invitation to the wedding of people I never met.

I’m another troubled middle child who grew up breathing the persistent dust of antiÂÁ anxiety meds. Clouds mope about. Babushkas drink a fifth a day. There are many laws, but few arrests. My heart swims around like a black goldfish in a clear plastic bag -- what happens when spring arrives fashionably late.

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