Goats

by Lisa Bellamy

Lisa Bellamy studies poetry with Philip Schultz at The Writers Studio, where she also teaches. Her chapbook, Nectar, won the Aurorean-Encircle Chapbook Prize in 2011. Her work has appeared in TriQuarterly, Massachusetts Review, New Ohio Review, The Southampton Review, Hotel Amerika, Cimarron Review, Tiferet, and Calyx, among other publications, and she won the Fugue Poetry Prize in 2008. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, and in a hamlet in the Adirondacks with her family.

Last night, Daisy had a doe-ling
and Dixie had two buck-lings—
so notes the local artisanal
goat farm website this morning.
Each day, I check new kidding dates,
for the farm’s labouring mothers.
If I had the acreage and leisure
I would be a goat-herder:
I admire their perseverance,
their willingness to forego
conventional pleasantries in pursuit
of their goals. Goats care
nothing for your good opinion—
in their search for what they understand
as achievable outcomes, goats will
interrogate a backpack,
a purse, a trouser pocket to the point
of rudeness. Inquisitiveness,
stick-to-it-ness, are highly prized—
yet they care for more
than time and materials, project management,
and I find solace, given
the sorrows and ills of our current news,
and even revel in, not just
the industry of goats but their
amorous, lyric nature:
goats soft-shooing it, hoofing it,
flank-to-sturdy-flank across meadows;
lady goats great with child,
pawing the ground, nuzzling
their big stomachs into the hay,
lifting their tails, groaning,
panting, licking their slick newborns.
Thunderstorms bring goats intense pleasure—
they remember only the ancient
god of electricity could truly train a goat:
standing on his chariot,
pulled by two horned, nose-flaring warriors,
he careened across the sky,
up-ending cultivated fields, carts,
orchards and flimsiness—to this day goats
love to see things of this world
strewn before them, as if created,
then flung, only to satisfy their curiosity.
Still to go, still ladies-
in-waiting: Marjoram, Cascade, Crater,
Voyageur, Pinnacle, Fern,
Pink and Deedie—all eager to exhale,
stumble back to the fields.
This summer, there will be frolicking:
milk-sucking, grass-eating,
bleating, back-rubbing against trees;
on warm nights they will
try to jump up to sparks that we,
in our ignorance, call stars,
in order to swallow them whole—they will
never stop until
they light the world from their bellies.

 


Lisa Bellamy studies poetry with Philip Schultz at The Writers Studio, where she also teaches. Her chapbook, Nectar, won the Aurorean-Encircle Chapbook Prize in 2011. Her work has appeared in TriQuarterly, Massachusetts Review, New Ohio Review, The Southampton Review, Hotel Amerika, Cimarron Review, Tiferet, and Calyx, among other publications, and she won the Fugue Poetry Prize in 2008. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, and in a hamlet in the Adirondacks with her family.

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