I Helped Him Bury the Goat


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


them down. But they were too soft.

Gone to mush. You can’t let them ripen

on the tree, he said, they break down at the core.



Photo By: Pete Markham

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About Author

Lynn Pattison's poetry has appeared in Rattle, Atlanta Review, RHINO, and the Notre Dame Review, among others, and has been anthologized in several venues. Her collections include: Walking Back the Cat (Bright Hill Press), tesla's daughter (March St. Press) and Light That Sounds Like Music (Mayapple Press)

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