The grim reaper, arms crossed against chest,
leans against the far wall of the goat shed,
weight on heels, scythe by side.
I grab Rover by the collar,
place one hand to his hip, the other on his shoulder,
bracing my weight with legs fore and aft.
The veterinarian inserts a needle between muscle and skin,
I brace my weight with legs fore and aft,
and Pete squeezes the bag of clear, warm fluid against his barn coat.
The goat, seeing the shadow in the corner, shudders,
and the Grim Reaper wonders
if he is going to have to make a return trip.
This is a question he seldom considers,
for if he moves on, without paperwork in hand,
he will have to answer to a higher up,
who will have to answer to yet another higher up.
I tell Rover he isn’t going anywhere.
He bleats, struggles, bleats.
The Grim Reaper steps outside the door,
into the cold winter night.
He rolls round poop pellets under foot,
brushes falling snow off shoulder,
and moves on.
Next: 15. 1/14/17: Goat Man