Annie Goold

Updated: Jan 29

Dad’s Most Recent Phone Call

Oh, what’s it called? You know. It’s like an onion.

When I say my family is a fracture of society, do I need to explain?

She says she wrote it down for me this morning.

I’ve been taking a class on death and dying.

When I say the family is a fracture of society, do I have to explain?

I mean that he was feudal, and Uncle John resented being second born.

I’ve been taking a class on death and dying.

Dad got the black fallow of the fields and John the woods.

Yes. I mean that Dad was feudal, and Uncle John resented being, sentence-worn.

Can you remember where your mother puts the detergent?

Dad got the black fallow of the fields. But John’s was just as good.

Pink slip? I’ve never heard that term in my life.

Can you remember where your mother said she was going?

I think I could still have another twenty years in me.

Pink slip? I’ve never heard that term in my life.

Libertarianism is an adolescent boy’s take on politics.

I think I could still have another twenty years in me.

I burn 500 calories on the elliptical, 200 more lifting, and then run for an hour.

If you think Libertarianism is adolescent, you don’t understand its take on politics.

The class is more like therapy. We all end up sharing our experiences.

I burn 500 calories on the treadmill, 200 more on the elliptical, then lift for an hour.

Roosevelt, I mean Mary-Jane sometimes comes and naps with me.

The class is more like therapy. We all end up sharing our regrets.

Goddamned—worthless—piece of shit. Nancy, how d’you work this?

MJ, I mean Roosevelt sometimes would come and dance at me.

I’m in as good of shape at 70 as I was when I was 30.

Goddamned—worthless—piece of shit. Nancy, how d’you fix this?

Life is very dear. I can’t get over it. Very dear.

I’m in as good of shape at 70 as I was when I was 30.

I’ve been taking a class on death and dying.

Life is very dear, I’ve discovered. Very dear.

Oh, what’s it called? You know.

My Animal of Then


A man I like to listen to

is laughing, giving me a handhold

beyond my steering wheel:

wintered, the hills float back

on the blue-dust of branches, hemming

this hose of road so abruptly traversable.

Were it not for dog snores

turning my face from front, I’d believe

the world a thing distant to now,

the split sight-glaciers sprinting to my lee.

To see you now, friend,

I apologize for my animal

of then. How do you enter

a pool? Do you mind if you’re seen?

I used to, mind that is.

Now it’s about the water and not

making a move unearned. I wait

for the waves I make to smooth back before

dipping down further. Any breath held under

soon shatters for breath above, so I tend to leave

my mouth for last. Are you at home

in the city, the one we considered

on night ceilings, cars and cars away? It was for me.

Deer in bloat by the median; another

protracted groan and repositioning, another

titter at his own joke. I should get back

to what I’m doing. I’ve got parents to see

Annie Goold is from a small farm in rural Illinois. She graduated in Spring 2017 with an MFA in Poetry from Cornell University. She lives and writes in Urbana, Illinois.

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