ODE TO VICKY’S GOATS

Lorraine Healy

It is the time when they start dropping
in twos, in threes,
and some are a week old
and they bound on secret springs
and some a few minutes old,
sticky with afterbirth,
folded
tiny stunned packages under the ewe’s legs.

There is no end to mud and cold
this February—Vicky
makes all the kids coats
from cut-off sweatshirts’ sleeves
and they crowd out of the barn
to jump on cable-spool tables,
a spill of colored marbles
with minds of their own.

And I sit and become
another piece of furniture,
and they rain on me,
solid pellets of joy
in cotton envelopes,
who forgive the embarrassment
of my humanness and munch
on my bangs,
their nothing teeth and warm skinny tongues
suckling my fingers with right abandon.

The mothers headbutt my sides,
they too want human hands
scratching between their eyes,
their soft Nubian ears,
and my voice to praise their beautiful
children who now hang from their udders
like bell claps.

The world here smells of ammonia
and straw, of wet soil,
of goat upon goat. The immense
white sheepdog keeps his amber eye
on everything, head nested
on his outstretched paws.
I would like
to marry him.
I would like
that serene wet nose
on my shoulder when I wake.

And small goats in bright sweaters
butt him too, bounce off him,
flip, climb as if the air
had holds in it,
all the air has is drizzle,
all the little goats need
is one corner of morning,
they can find a day’s invisible ladders
on their own.


Lorraine Healy is an award-winning Argentinean poet who has been published extensively. Nominated for a Pushcart in 2004, she has a M.F.A from the New England College and a post-MFA from Antioch University Los Angeles. She is the first poet to have received a green card solely on the merits of her work. The 2009 winner of the Patricia Libby First Book Award, her book “The Habit of Buenos Aires” was published by Tebot Bach in 2010. Her new collection, “Mostly Luck”, is forthcoming from Tebot Bach in 2014. “Abraham’s Voices,” her newest chapbook has just been published by WorldEnoughWriters.

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