You can’t imagine the goats
who were my only friends as a child
how they tore at my underwear,
hitting their heads into my legs,
playfully throwing me into the air.
How their snores rattled the night.
How their milk tasted sweet
and thick and altogether wild.
How they followed me through the orchard
and up into the rocky fields above
and ate blueberries through the afternoon.
How at twilight I’d walk down,
a hand on two goats’ backs
and they’d talk me all the way down.
How many times I was beaten
about the face and shoulders and back.
How the goat smell kept me
from properly experiencing food.
How I crept out to the goats in the night
and slept very well there
the goats licking my bruises as though I
were sacred and wounded and divine.
Kate Gale, “Sphere” from Mating Season. Copyright © 2004 by Kate Gale. Reprinted by permission of Tupelo Press.
Source: Mating Season (Tupelo Press, 2004)