Robin with earthworm

Two Poems by Mike Good

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The Robins

When I feel like a sick horse
Dragging the weight of a sinking empire
Beneath my ugly hooves
When I hear the Cooper’s hawk whinnying

When the squirrels move like shadows
Over the bony roots
With acorns stuffed between their jaws
When the dreary sun grows

Ravenous and the clover seeds
Begin raging inside their chests I bellow
Wing Eyelash Bitter-Wind
Learning to flail by beaking into red clay

Pulling rotten syllables from my tongue
Like an earthworm broken and dangling
When I hear the rock dove cooing
When I thought I knew anything about the sky



Fishing All Afternoon at Canonsburg Lake, and It is Hot

They can call anything a lake I suppose,
never mind the patio music coming across the water
from that restaurant along with the insect din
of human conversation, incomprehensible
garbage spilling from cars crossing the bridge, and that row
of car dealerships that say, C’mon in.                        The sides of the lake
bolstered with cement and the water choked
with mud algae and lily pads. Even when bass jump
at pond middle, they are liars, for I have taken a canoe out to that point
and scraped the bottom. It is shallow, growing less deep daily.
Silty. Even hours outside the city, it turns silty. Here,

everything used to be used for something else
and for metal. Everything wanted to be metal and is
silty. Now, metal leaks into the hillsides,
and hillsides are where I crawl. Combing the creek
that feeds the lake, walking so far upstream,
over hillsides and sulphur stinks, over
the orange-stained creekbed, I stop. Once, a man stood
on the opposite lakeshore, tiny in that distance,
wrestling a channel cat longer than his arms. Against
the concrete, the fish blended right in. Sure, there’s the moon,
and a heron. Sure, I’ve caught my fair share here,
never kept nothing.



Mike GoodMike Good lives in Pittsburgh. Recent poems of his can be found in or are forthcoming from Bennington Review, december, Five Points, Ploughshares, Prolit, Salamander, Waxwing, and elsewhere.

Header photo by Ayman Haykal, courtesy Shutterstock. Photo of Mike Good by Max Segal. is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, art, commentary, and design since 1998.