that last autumn we were together.
Understand, he’d had that goat a long time
there on his faded farm, and he didn’t say much

as we dragged the carcass toward
the pasture. I see his slim figure in sunlight
by the rusting fence. It was hot. I was not used

to grave-digging. The hole needed
to be bigger than I’d imagined. What was
I doing there, in love with a penniless farmer,

sweating and huffing to widen
and deepen a grave? The barnyard
animals, silent at first, grew uneasy. Stiff-legged,

the cow bolted toward me then froze.
A goat smashed headlong into barn siding.
I tucked into the work, unnerved so close to death.

When it was done we cleaned up,
walked behind the slumped barn to pick
the last of the pears. I climbed the tree to hand



Feature photo by: Pete Markham