John Grey and ‘That Goat Man’

That Goat Man
So you have a goat do you,    
a strange animal that cuts your grass
with relentless teeth
and smells like ten goats.
And then, when the grass can go no lower,
he’s into the purple vetch,
and the dandelions and even the garden itself
when he can squeeze his head
through the protecting wire.
And he bleats, oh how be bleats.
With no other goats to speak to,
he’s in constant conversation
with the maple trees, the finches,
the back fence, the neighbor’s dog.
Odd nose, strange pale eyes,
and a garbage disposal gut,
he’s not a creature man could easily love.
And yet he’s yours,
his hard hoofs prancing
on the gravel path,
his rough beard swaying
to the beat of his chewing,
his prick ears listening in
to a neighborhood of sounds.
Everyone else has a dog or a cat.
One even owns a bird.
But you have to have a goat don’t you.
And only because someone has to.
I hear they’ll eat anything.
And yet, when they’re done,
there’s still everything.

*John Grey is an Australian born poet, US resident since late seventies. Works as financial systems analyst. Recently published in Xavier Review, White Wall Review and Writer’s Bloc with work upcoming in Poem, Prism International and the Cider Press Review.

One comment

  1. Anonymous

    I like especially the constant conversation with the surroundings, and the poem has reminded me of a goat in a small local zoo in Hampstead in the early 1970s which took a particular liking to me – must try to capture its relentlessness.
    Thanks, John.

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