Home Literary Arts Two Poems by Ethan Goffman

Two Poems by Ethan Goffman

Two Poems by Ethan Goffman

Waiting to Cross a Busy Road

I am trying to cross a busy road

at a spot with no crosswalk for miles and miles and miles and miles

but someone must have constructed a machine of infinite car generation

way down the road, due north, just past the horizon.

And another such machine due south.

That’s the only explanation

for why the cars just kept coming and

coming and coming and coming and coming and coming and coming and coming and coming and coming and coming and co

nimoc dna gnimoc dna gnimoc dna gnimoc dna gnimoc dna gnimoc dna gnimoc dna gnimoc dna gnimoc dna gnimoc dna gnim

There is another possibility.

People could have constructed roads all over the planet

and hundreds of millions of cars to fill them.

Of course, that would be insane,

            a form of mass suicide,

over the short time horizon that is human existence.

The ecosphere couldn’t survive

            the snaking, strangling network of roads and super-highways

the foulness spewing from tailpipes

            numberless as the stars

Relentless zooming vehicles making road kill of

ants flies beetles spiders snails turtles snakes voles mice rats squirrels chipmunks skunks opossums deer elk wolfs coyotes bear

and occasionally people.

There’s a third possibility.

Maybe the road ends just over the horizon

            in each direction

and loops back upon itself

so that a limited number of cars are traveling the same road over and over and over

giving the illusion of infinitude

like an old Hollywood film where the camera pans over the same set of performers

so they seem like massive crowds.

That must be it!

The least implausible explanation.

You might think I’m writing this from the safety of my home

emotion recollected in tranquility.

But it’s scrawled in blood from my finger tips

pricked by thorns from a withered roadside locust tree.

Mowing the Lawn

I come upon a corpse,

a baby bird, almost a fetus still

that likely never felt the thrill

of flight

even for an instant.

With a swift sideways kick

I send the sad little thing

into the garden.

It will become fertilizer


new plants

housing and feeding

future bugs

themselves food for

future birds.

Nature is cruel

nature is kind

nature runs in cycles

nature knows neither kindness nor cruelty.

I cut neat

shrinking squares of wild grass

into tamed pastures

conquering nature once again.

One day I will be

food for maggots

and worms.

As I end my morning trials, I glimpse

hopping across the fresh cut grass

a baby bird

vibrant with life

ready to fly.

Ethan Goffman’s poems have appeared in BlazeVox, Mad Swirl, MadnessMuse, Ramingo’s Blog, Under the Bleachers and Setu, as well as the anthologies The Music of the Aztecs, Epiphanies and Late Realizations of Love, and Narwhal’s Lament. He is co-founder of It Takes a Community, a Montgomery College initiative that brings poetry to both students and local residents. In addition, Ethan is founder and producer of the Poetry & Planet podcast on EarthTalk.org.

Image by Panek – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 pl, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40958667


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