A Big’un

Three poems
by Elisabeth J. Ferrell-Horan
One Could Say
I lost a goat today.
One could say she’s just a goat
but she’s gone nonetheless.
Gone too is a little piece of me, from
my hands that fed her
my arms that hugged her
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.
A bear was here today.
He was on my porch.
He ate my compost, my eggs;
he spared the chickens
he took the goat.
My neighbor reported
He was a big’un.
I often chastise my neighbors for badmouthing bears
or those gun lovers that hunt them
I have thought
what barbarians –
How could they do that? To
the bear: so wild, majestic:
an easy symbol of our care and concern.
But this was my goat,
and I’m so mad at that bear.
How dare he come into my yard and terrorize
my domestics.
He lived here once. Perhaps loved here once.
He cares not at all
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;
ate acorns 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
pioneer housewife,
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
just not here, bear.
I lost a goat today.
One could say she’s just a goat.
A bear came by today.
One could say he’s just a bear
that used to live here.
Keeping Tabs
Here I go again
Down the goddamn rabbit hole
Chasing the oily smell
Of my past as only I can do –
It’s so dirty
It’s such a waste of time
This hating myself –
But I go back anyway
I can’t stay away
Like a lover who promised me forever.
Here I go again –
Berating my brain
When I mess up
Instead of making amends
I go deep, I go dark.
I use the pain of what I’ve done –
To burn the eyes of those peering into
The destruction zone –
I had cordoned off.
My children have learned not to listen when I yell
When I say:
Forgive me babies
Mommy didn’t mean it –
They look at me with a hint
Of pity
Which belies their youthful ages
That seems to say
We know she’s nuts
Let’s move on and play quietly over here –
As to not disturb the dragon again.
They think of me like a feral cat
That can’t be trusted
Too unpredictable with her claws –
Like a mutt who eats the garbage again and again
Despite the punishments
Despite the slap to her head – that
Reverberates across her guilty tongue.
Here I go again
Such a pussy –
Hiding in this isolation
Which so adroitly keeps
Tabs on my chance of being a good person.
My Dog Charlie
She has only three legs.
The ghost one is the left front.
When sleeping,
she twitches
her sewn up shoulder, where
the muscle, sinew, tendons and joints
used to casually, effectively interact.
I often gaze at her as
she runs through
her dreams,
Whimpering and twitching
her lips; chasing chipmunks on
her unbiased canvas,
The loyal canine mind.
But when
she is awake
she often falls down.
The right front leg
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 teeters over while
she is going to the bathroom,
especially during the strain of moving
her bowels.
And then
I run to pick her up as
she yelps like a pup for
her mother bitch; then
I am left crying from the guilt, while
she lunges back to standing
and moves on like
a daughter might leave me someday:
Off to college, mom.
I got this.
Dogs don’t feel bad for themselves.
You must understand.
They don’t remember the falling down,
only know that the getting up is necessary and
the desire to lick
your mouth like an
open face turkey sandwich:
Innate like breathing,
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
loving gestures as gifts
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
husband backed up out of
the driveway and ran
her over with
his stupid heavy truck.
She does not know to be mad, rather
she loves
him still just like
she did before
he essentially ruined things with
that bad mistake with
his stupid heavy truck.
It is only
I who remembers how
it happened.
If only
I could rinse
my memory clean and hope
in the moment for that
loving praise and
a delicious treat –
And wag
my tail while
someone agrees to stroke
my back with undulating praise
like chinchilla.
I wish
I could do all that – like
my dog, Charlie did.
I know, if only
I could –
I too, could forgive
him for
his stupid mistake and move on like
she did – in
an instant.
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.

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Scott Thomas Outlar hosts the site 17Numa.wordpress.com where links to his published poetry, fiction, essays, interviews, reviews, and books can be found. He is a Best of the Net and three-time Pushcart Prize nominee. Scott's poetry books include: Songs of a Dissident (Transcendent Zero Press, 2015), Chaos Songs (Weasel Press, 2016), Happy Hour Hallelujah (CTU Publishing, 2016), and Poison in Paradise (Alien Buddha Press, 2017). Scott serves as an editor for The Peregrine Muse, Happy Hour Hallelujah, and Novelmasters.

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