A Deceiving Woman
Her red hair—so beautiful
shimmered in the evening light
and I loved her for it.
Only after we committed
ourselves to each other
did she reveal that she
dyed her hair.
That was the first deception.
We married for the tax exemption
and to save on rent, and it was
convenient and convivial until I felt
confined and threatened to walk,
but I didn’t walk
and even when it was no longer
practical to stay, I stayed
That was the second deception.
This temporary arrangement continued
through many joys and trials.
Meanwhile she aged
her face lined
her body sagged
her hair finally grey.
Yet she remained
the most beautiful woman
whom I still desired.
That was the unexpected deception.
She fought her cancer
as she had always fought
her battles, intending to win
but in the end
cancer took her
leaving me stranded.
That was the final deception.
Night Time Mission
There is something fascinating
about a campground
in the middle of the night
chairs empty, scattered
the fireplace dead
an ax laying by its side
but I am not here to explore
the quiet dark campsite
I am on a mission
to find the latrine
wishing I had investigated
its location in daylight
the latrine located logically
but most inconveniently
far away from my tent
and my mission is urgent
and this latrine appears
to be located on a mountain top
which I stumble up
my flip-flops imperfectly
fitting my fragile feet
my fragile feet
balancing on unstable rocks
once located, the business almost complete
I realized that I had forgotten
to collect the toilet paper
in the East I could have used a leaf
but that function
is ill served by a cactus
so I return down the mountain
my bare bottom as bright as the moon
collect the toilet paper
re-climb the mountain
expecting at any minute
to be confronted by a snake
or a scorpion
or a mountain goat
or by a bear, or a yeti
thinking about my comfortable
bathroom at home
with its collections of magazines
all extolling the joys
of the American wilderness.
A Poet Considers The Dogs
She bemoans the decision by Shackleton to kill
the dogs so that his men can survive.
She pictures the dogs as if they were the convivial
residents of some comfortable suburb, with their wet
tongues and neurotic tails. She does not know of a time
when dogs were not pets, toys, permanent babies, but
were used just to do a job. She does not think
of the men starving, facing the arctic winter, living
in darkness with its never easing pernicious cold, fighting
despair. She does not consider walking that narrow ledge
that separates life from death. She does not understand
what it takes to willingly walk on that narrow ledge
with no cell phone, no instant or any communications
no back up team, no ready rescue waiting with a truck load
of essential supplies, knowing that danger is a fickle and
duplicitous mistress who will sometimes demand a cruel
payment. She does not know what courage it takes to live
at the extreme, what courage it takes to kill what you love
and need, the courage it takes to make impossible decisions,
impossible choices knowing that whatever the choice, it could
be wrong leading to the abyss of death. No, she transfers all that
to her own domestic bliss as she surveys her serene suburban
garden with all its abundance, coated with sentimentality.
© Peter D. Goodwin
Peter D. Goodwin divides his time between the streets and vibrant clutter of New York City and the remnants of the natural world along Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay, discovering in the dislocation of environments and cultures the creative edge where words rekindle their spark. His poems have been published in the following anthologies: September eleven; Maryland Voices; Listening to The Water: The Susquehanna Water Anthology; Alternatives To Surrender; Wild Things–Domestic and Otherwise; This Path; From The Porch Swing; The Coming Storm. His poetry has also appeared in various journals, including Rattle, Memoir(and), River Poets Journal, Delaware Poetry Review, Yellow Medicine Review, Twisted Tongue, Poetry Monthly, Main Street Rag, Loch Raven Review, and Sliver of Stone.