Goats climb high on bamboo branches
attempt to avoid the electric fence and
I’ve got to say
we have that last bit in common.
Their switch is to my left and I flick it off.
to whose left is my switch.
It’s consistently on—
a quick jolt on the left arm, a
sharp buzz through the kneecap I don’t
know the pattern I just screw up eyes
and tangle knuckles in fists.
fence is off and they
There are days when I wish I
could be a goat but the truth
of it is
I’ve got to go
I ease one leg through a wire square in the fence.
I try not to touch lava I try to engage
abdominal wall remember to breathe from
diaphragm listen to the world around you
breathe deeper, draw in the world around you
let the thoughts pass you by train yourself–
and the jolts radiate;
through feet through hair.
I fall back
land against bamboo branches
the goats just stare blink resume climbing
resume munching, the strong jaws waggling
like a disappointed Frenchman. I think,
that’s fair, what stock have they in all this.
I screw up eyes and tangle
knuckles in fists.
Bamboo branch juts into rib and
the discomfort reminds me of mortality
and that’s a nice thought for a sunny Thursday.
Eyes remain fused.
The sun blossoms from beneath lids
and skin hugs kinder than it has
in a while.
I need a reason to climb over this fence.
Arbitrary thoughts engulf me exploit me fling
me to the ground
if I were taller I could see past
the bamboo trees, but I’m just me and
that’s become progressively difficult to swallow.
Zap to calf.
I’m lingering in the damp morning for the call
to prayer to approve my application to board
the bus which has been waiting at the stop
for thirteen years.
This would be easier to cross
if I weren’t afraid of pain.
How do the goats do it? They donate a full
day to dismantling a bamboo branch I know
when I come back tomorrow it’ll be stripped
and they’ll have commandeered a new one.
Days grow common when I long to be
a goat. But the truth of it is
I’ve got to go