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Christopher Goff
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Old Sayings

 

by Christopher Goff

 

I used to think I wasn't meant to be:

My mother's morning sickness; Daddy's thigh

Scarred by the German fire in Normandy

(If one inch to his left I'd never die,

Not having lived). The morning I was born

The heat was racking, Mother's labor long;

But although she was stretched (and Daddy torn

By one thorn or another) still the song

Of Happy Birthday jingled in their heads

To hymn the date on which fortuity gave

My life to me, miraculously. Time sped.

I was a child—one, for the moment, saved.

But once I got a chill and Mommy said,

That means somebody's stepping on your grave.



Lily Thornwood

 

by Christopher Goff

 

 

My mother said Jack Thornwood beat his wife.

I know myself that he was one mean drunk.

And Jack was strong. His biceps was a chunk

Of muscle, and when Lily grabbed her knife—

A kitchen knife—that’s where she cut him, deep,

Down almost to the bone, as if she meant

To cripple his bricklaying and his bent

For coming home mean and drunk. She aimed to keep

His fists off her forever. All the men

Were outraged that a wife would try to harm

Her mason husband by laming the arm

He used for spreading mud. But not my mom:

That’s what he gets for treating her so rough.

I wish she would have cut his arm plumb off.



 

 

Christopher Goff was raised in the Appalachian Mountain country of Southwest Virginia and now lives in Bronxville, New York.  He attended the University of Virginia, where he majored in English literature, and Harvard Law School.  His sonnets have been published in Edge Effects and accepted for publication in the July 2016 issue of Blood Moon Rising.

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