Giving Up The Goat


Mama learned me scarper brittle edges,

trip-trap soft on clefties.


Papa learned me lean - lean in to rock,

follow, follow, follow.


Me learn nifty - sidestep cracks and rifties.

Me learn no graze bitter-bitter trampled raze,


me reach-reach high, browse ledges,

learn munch. Me grow little nubs, me grow brave,


grow life, learn give-give-bend, earn reach.

Me teach kids four-feet-fend.


Then come Gruffs - bristle me with horn,

chests out-puff, beards strokey-strokey,


blah-blah me glassy-eyed.

Blather-blather richer pasture, wide-wide opens.


Tells of green blades stropped on leathery tongue,

the sweet-suck-scent of heathery highs.


Tells how Gruff get all good things if him strong.

If him stretch, him reach-reach sky.


Me blurt - them look me slit, narrow-narrow.

‘No-no,’ them wags. ‘No reach for Nounous,


them’s broody-breeds, made to follow.

Gruffs learned me pain to marrow.


Caused me blart so hard me split sides,

spill out innards, bawl out eyes. So hard me sick-up heart.


It looked pathetic lying there, pooled in offal and hair.

I wrapped it in the tatters of my kiddy-hide,


left it to harden beside the shucked off corns of hoofs,

the dazed gaze of rolling eyes.


I grew a thicker skin, got more guts,

clearer vision. Sharpened the points of my horns.


Published in the 52 anthology