poem #35

The Goat-2
How many times has it chomped my fingers,
how many times has it tasted my earlobes,
how many times has it charged
my behind, butted my belly,
bloodied my clothes,
trampled my toes,
bruised my bones?
How wicked is the goat,
braying with laughter when I stumble?
There in the dirt pen, hen-pecked and speckled
white, brown, and gray,
there in the alfalfa, mowing the green,
there at the mailbox, splayed obscenely,
waiting to nip a postman’s hands,
a sheen of sweat on its neck,
a cake of dung on its tail,
in full regalia lies the goat,
barking with hatred when I approach.
Down in its soul, it knows it will die;
down in its blood, it pules with fear;
down in the muscles under the roots
of its hairs, it tenses, it twitches,
it bristles; it opens its eyes
and regards the barrel
of daddy’s pump gun.
Away runs the goat,
old billy, whinnying like a kid.
Now in an oven, tossed with carrots,
turnips, shallots, white wine,
now on a plate with suprêmes of clementines,
now in my mouth, pulling apart,
masticated, luscious, lovely,
a buttery treat for my tongue
and tummy is the meat
of the ornery goat.
I say, “Pass the gravy.”
– Evelyn B. Hirschworth
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