"Where To Next?" ($9.99 in paperback, self-published, facebook.com/authorjoangoodreau; also for Amazon Kindle) collects poems that point to a hopeful, though still mysterious, future.
"Diagnosis" (the poem that introduces the first section of the book, "On the Spectrum") puts it this way: "I picture a train with Ian and me/ pulling out of the station/ to an unknown destination/ with nothing but the clothes on our backs./ I don't know when we'll arrive/ only the time of departure and/ we will never return to/ where we are now."
In "Group Home Evacuations: Camp Fire 2018," "neon fire slashes between/ the black ridge and sky.// From this gash of blood/ men evacuate from 19 group homes/ creep in Cal Vocations vans down Skyway Road." Hours later, parked near Woodson Bridge, Sam can't quite understand the enormity of events. "'Tomorrow when I go home I'll/ ... hang with friends/ go to Jaki's Hilltop Cafe for the hamburger special.'"
In "My Son Evacuates," Ian is perplexed that he cannot "walk the paths of Bille Park." "But," the poet observes, loving him, "if he repeats repeats repeats/ his swaying long enough/ maybe his world will reappear/ rise through Ponderosa pines/ just like before."
"Heart Murmurs," the second section, traces the disparate lives of a mermaid, wanting legs "'for hope of love'"; a woman with second thoughts about dating online; and an old besotted veteran remembering better days.
In "Our Times 2020," the third section, the poet writes of the "Corona Star," "Locked down inside Zoom we/ shrink to rectangles of ourselves/ Outside sky sparkles/ soil breathes in relief.// But not for long...."
"Masks" faces a grim reality: "Evacuate again/ my autistic son and me.// Not the Paradise Fire this time/ but the Oroville Bear Fire./ Corona follows wherever we go."
And, finally, the section and poem called "Grace." As the poet faces surgery, a "white feather/ ... floats down before the entrance..../ This parachute of hope/ lands on rough asphalt/ stops me in my tracks/ holds me close in my present."