Ode to Maiya, by Jessica Goody

Ode to Maiya
by Jessica Goody

You sit at the top of the stairs, willing us home.
When the door bursts open you spin in delight.
It is worth leaving just to receive your ecstatic

homecoming: you meet us at the door, dancing
around our feet, unwilling to wait for us to take
off our coats or set down the groceries before

you anoint us with kisses. The sunlight stripes
the rug where you lay surrounded by humans,
emitting a shuddering sigh of pure contentment.

Your shiny dark eyes are limpid as you beg for
table tidbits. You eat like no other dog, vegetarian
from birth, preferring rice, fruit slices, seaweed,

a noodle plucked from a plate of pasta and slurped
so that the sauce flies and stains your fuzzy chin.
Curling up in the dry tub like a rodent in its burrow,

you wait for someone with opposable thumbs to man
the taps. Once soaked, you squirm from fluffy towels,
preferring to dry yourself on a freshly-made bed.

You are a loafer, a lounger, a lapdog, apathetic to
any and all sporting activities, unable to fathom
why other dogs chase these round missiles with

such delight. Your cheerful skip is that of a lamb
gamboling in a carpeted field, your fur sometimes
blonde, sometimes white. You adore riding in the

car; in your mind you are Amelia Earhart taking
flight, a daring aviatrix. Your tongue lolls from
your grin, ears blown back from the open window.

Jessica Goody was born and raised on Long Island. She currently lives in South Carolina, where she writes for SunSations Magazine. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Reader’s Digest, The Seventh Wave, Event Horizon, Really System, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and The Maine Review. Her poem “Stockings” was awarded second place in the 2015 Reader’s Digest Poetry Competition. Her poetry collection Defense Mechanisms will be released by Phosphene Publishing in January 2017.

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The Selkie, by Jessica Goody

The Selkie
by Jessica Goody

The air is heavy with salt and smelt,
the ripe odor of green kelp and something sharp,
bitter and medicinal, like chlorine.
In the infirmary, the biology interns stomp

in basins of disinfectant to sterilize their shoes.
Large glass aquariums quarantine each patient.
A yellowcoat pup with peach-fuzz fur
forlornly scratches the air, itchy and miserable.

Seal pox is a scourge among marine mammals
as virulent as chicken pox on an grammar-school playground.
The pup is spotted with a rash, and sneezes weakly.
opening his eyes just long enough to blink and notice me,

He delicately waved, clawing at empty space.
It is a benediction.
He knows who I am.
The marine biologists and the veterinarians

are too pragmatic to admit it. It is a coincidence,
that’s all. But I know the truth in the veil of
synchronicity that has followed me since birth.
The seal recognizes me as one of his own.

He remembers my scent, the selkie among the humans.
He arrived thin and battered,
his fur patchy, his stomach empty.
He is fed through a feeding tube, a slurry

of seafood, fish oil, and milk protein.
He sucks and gulps, emaciated and hungry.
Exhausted and feeble, he is lulled
into sleep by a stomach finally full.

Weeks pass as he regains strength.
His fur grows back, sleekened and glossy,
his sores fade as the serum nullifies the virus.
Now plump and energetic, he is deemed rehabilitated,

ready to be released back into the wild.
He nudges the plastic walls of the cat-carrier
with curiosity, exploring its scent and texture.
The transport crate has been upholstered

with sodden towels to keep him cool en route.
Ice cubes shift and clatter against the sides.
He nuzzles the door, his plea unspoken and obvious,
His nose poking charmingly through the grate.

Freed, he worms his way out of the box,
emerging and blinking at the flash of the sun.
He feels the sand under his flippers,
gritty and familiar.

Like a shipwrecked sailor
giddy at feeling land beneath his feet,
he races toward the ocean,
his watery pilgrimage almost complete.

A single image throbs in his mind: Home.
He runs into the arms of Yoruba,
splashing joyfully, water droplets beading
the tips of ears and whiskers.

I watch him go, knowing I cannot follow.
For this lifetime, at least, I am earthbound,
barred from the watery terrain, my true home.
The seal’s head is a brown spot, almost invisible now,

receding with the horizon. I will see him again someday,
when I am released from this physical form, this limping body.
I turn to go, my human footsteps pressed into the sand,
the only evidence of my existence, liminal and transitory.

Jessica Goody was born and raised on Long Island. She currently lives in South Carolina, where she writes for SunSations Magazine. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Reader’s Digest, The Seventh Wave, Event Horizon, Really System, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and The Maine Review. Her poem “Stockings” was awarded second place in the 2015 Reader’s Digest Poetry Competition. Her poetry collection Defense Mechanisms will be released by Phosphene Publishing in January 2017.

Changeling, by Jessica Goody

Changeling
by Jessica Goody

I loved your searchlight eyes, your storybook golden hair,
the scent of lavender wafting from the harem of your bed.
I remember the candles burning like your eyes, and the
sound of laughter over sea-tart oysters. The rich river mud

was slow and warm, like your voice. Now the candles burn
low with impatience, and the telephone sits expectantly, white
and forgotten, where you no longer call. I wait to the hold-music
of foghorn dial tones and remembered conversations, without

your shadow, your scent, the curve of your smile to guide me.
My eyes could not see the truth even as they sought you.
I knew it in the cold North Sea of my subconscious, where the
wave of marrow-deep truth burst onto shore. You remain

countries and waters away from where I sit, The shock is not
the residual pain of you, my phantom limb, being torn from me.
With your tongue tasting like fruits with long, romantic names
and native garb wafting about your sand-golden feet, I leave you.

Jessica Goody was born and raised on Long Island. She currently lives in South Carolina, where she writes for SunSations Magazine. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Reader’s Digest, The Seventh Wave, Event Horizon, Really System, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and The Maine Review. Her poem “Stockings” was awarded second place in the 2015 Reader’s Digest Poetry Competition. Her poetry collection Defense Mechanisms will be released by Phosphene Publishing in January 2017.

The Red Cadillac, by Jessica Goody

The Red Cadillac
by Jessica Goody

Every time I see a red Cadillac,
I think of him, the car matching
every stop sign and traffic light.

A magical, metallic red, a candy
apple color with a summer-heat
shimmer like quartz. I am the co-pilot

belted beside him as the car consumes
the striped asphalt passing beneath us.
The red Cadillac idles at the red light.

My eye is drawn to the tinted window,
waiting for him to lean out and wave.
It will not be him in the driver’s seat.

He no longer plays fighter pilot at the
steering wheel, wearing his leather
aviator jacket, his pale eyes shielded

from the glare. The music changes with
every passing year; I grow taller, leaving
a higher imprint in the headrest, a ghost

of a bygone childhood. The car no longer
shines with enthusiasm at our imagined
adventures of fighter jets and car chases.

It has been driven away, sold or scrapped.
Someone else sits in it now, watching the
rain beading the windshield and arguing

in the backseat. The scent and sounds
of our weekend excursions, our secret
missions, have evaporated, replaced by

pine-forest air fresheners and bleached
upholstery. No longer are we two spies
tailing double agents in the sedan ahead.

The taillights flash red in the darkness
like curious nocturnal eyes, a distance
measured in memories instead of miles.

Jessica Goody was born and raised on Long Island. She currently lives in South Carolina, where she writes for SunSations Magazine. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Reader’s Digest, The Seventh Wave, Event Horizon, Really System, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and The Maine Review. Her poem “Stockings” was awarded second place in the 2015 Reader’s Digest Poetry Competition. Her poetry collection Defense Mechanisms will be released by Phosphene Publishing in January 2017.