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January 20, 2017: Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Billy Goat

At the edge of a single snowy barnyard
The only thing moving
Was the beard of a billy goat.

I was of three minds.
Like a pasture
In which there are three billy goats.

The billy goats whirled in the autumn winds.
He was a small part of the shrinking farmlands.

A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a billy goats
Are one.

I do not know which to prefer
The beauty of inoculations
Or the beauty of innuen-does
The billy goats breeding
Or just after.

Frost coated the barn windows
With prismatic patterns.
The shadow of the billy goats crossed it, to and fro
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.

O lost colonists of Palmer
Why do you not imagine young Toggenburgs in heat?
Do you not see how the billy goats
Dances around the feet
of the doe before you?

I know the sounds of the four stomachs
And their lucid, inescapable rhythms:
But I know too
That the billy goats is involved
In what I know.

When the billy goats trotted out of sight
He marked the edge
Of one of many circles.

At the sight of billy goats
Chewing his afternoon cud
even the bawling of newborn calves
could not hold sway

He rode around Palmer
on a John Deere tractor.
Once a fear pierced him
In that he mistook
the shadow of his equipage
for that of a billy goats.

The Matanuska River is rising.
The billy goats must be watching.

It was evening all afternoon.
The silt was blowing.
And it was going to snow.
The billy goats stood standing
In the shadow of the spruce bows.

Peaches and Rover

Next: 21. 1/21/17: We are Not Alone

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