by Elisabeth J. Ferrell-Horan
One could say she’s just a goat
but she’s gone nonetheless.
Gone too is a little piece of me, from
my feet that followed her up mountains.
my heart that melted a little
each time she called to me from the barn –
asking for hay, for grain, to let her out of the pen.
He ate my compost, my eggs;
I often chastise my neighbors for badmouthing bears
or those gun lovers that hunt them
How could they do that? To
the bear: so wild, majestic:
an easy symbol of our care and concern.
and I’m so mad at that bear.
How dare he come into my yard and terrorize
He lived here once. Perhaps loved here once.
that we built a house here.
Perhaps we did this below his den
in the uplifted boulders of shale and gneiss
Perhaps he watched us, sniffing the air
disgusted by our messy ways
and wasteful suburbanite bent.
Perhaps he procreated here;
Defecated the berries in copious mounds of magenta,
the very same that we now pick and
make into wholesome pies –
Patting myself on the back for being
such a competent and clever
just like Laura Ingalls Wilder…
Using the land – Reaping its gifts.
But he should go somewhere else now
there are goats and chickens and children here now.
I don’t know where to tell him to go
One could say she’s just a goat.
One could say he’s just a bear
Down the goddamn rabbit hole
Of my past as only I can do –
It’s such a waste of time
Like a lover who promised me forever.
I use the pain of what I’ve done –
To burn the eyes of those peering into
My children have learned not to listen when I yell
They look at me with a hint
Which belies their youthful ages
Let’s move on and play quietly over here –
As to not disturb the dragon again.
They think of me like a feral cat
Too unpredictable with her claws –
Like a mutt who eats the garbage again and again
Despite the slap to her head – that
Reverberates across her guilty tongue.
Tabs on my chance of being a good person.
The ghost one is the left front.
her sewn up shoulder, where
the muscle, sinew, tendons and joints
used to casually, effectively interact.
her lips; chasing chipmunks on
unable to do all the required work and
she falls down stairs, or
she splays on the ice, or
she tumbles off the couch, or
she is going to the bathroom,
especially during the strain of moving
I am left crying from the guilt, while
she lunges back to standing
a daughter might leave me someday:
Dogs don’t feel bad for themselves.
They don’t remember the falling down,
only know that the getting up is necessary and
open face turkey sandwich:
or a heartbeat da-dumming.
They desire to feel your undulating strokes
on the back as if chinchilla;
to be addressed with unwavering
approval of their actions.
Hoping always, to receive your
of delectable kibbles and bits.
They also adore french fries, chocolate –
they don’t know it’s bad for them.
She also doesn’t know that
my kind, funny, responsible and stupid
She does not know to be mad, rather
he essentially ruined things with
my back with undulating praise
I could do all that – like
his stupid mistake and move on like
Elisabeth J. Ferrell-Horan is a stay at home mom in Vermont raising two young boys, feeding her animals and dreaming in poetry. When not writing, she finds peace and inspiration working with her three very special horses: Deuce, Flynn and Bees. They speak to her without using words.