Douglas Goetsch

Shin Issues | Flash Flood
August 9, 2014 Goetsch Douglas

Shin Issues


Probably you have shins.

If you were born shinless

there would still be something between

your knee and ankle and we

could call that space


just as we could say the unknown guy

who supposedly wrote Shakespeare’s plays

was also, coincidentally, named Shakespeare.

That was a long sentence.

We elected a president who has shins.

He stands with other world leaders,

or they sit talking with their shins

parked indifferently under

the table like service dogs.

Let’s say you’re feeling bad, or else good—

no matter: your shins will still be

only okay. Unless you whack them

on, for example, something.

In that case go ahead and scream why don’t you.

“Son of a bitch!” you could shout,

like your father, or just bark.

In closing, you might think of trees

as having shins. They don’t.




Flash Flood


I don’t want to die. Not on a day

that’s cloudy or clear, near women

pretty or plain, listening to the song

of a sparrow or a truck backing up,

or the Roberta Flack tune I belt out

under cover of an arriving train.

Not while falling in love or breaking up,

or doing both at the same time, as rain

pours off the café awning, and baristas in

their aprons scramble to get bowls under

all the leaks. I don’t want it to stop—

I feel I’ve been alive

less than the seven days allotted the housefly.

Whatever I’ve read about death,

whatever I believed about past lives,

parallel universes, the eternal—just forget it.

There’s no world but this one,

no river to cross, no other

side to see you on.

Douglas Goetsch has a BA in Religion from Wesleyan University, an MA in American Civilization from New York University and has taught writing and English at Stuyvesant High School since 1987. He lives in Greenwich Village in New York City.