The goats eat all day,
so much and with such oblivion
that sometimes they have to nap,
bloated belly rising like a brown
hill between skinny legs,
when they lie on their side
and sleep it off.
In the garden, a small shape,
brown and goat-sized,
a few feet from where I weed
among the flowers. A fawn,
spotted and lithesome, sustains
her quiver beside the phlox, their blossoms
chewed to stumps the night before.
She stares, not a twitch of an ear,
so intent is her craving.
Appetite, silent urgency, the way
we scooped up my mother’s
Cherries Supreme dessert, stealing
bites out of the molded shape
when she wasn’t looking, until
the plate she served her bridge club
came out pocked and lopsided.
Dished in lumps, stabbed with a fork
between confessions and secrets
the women had saved up all month.
The craving to tell running
like a fever through their limbs.
At day’s end in my parent’s house,
the cocktail hour became
a devotion, a rite. The opening
of the cabinet at dusk. Inside
the shimmer of brown whiskey,
clear sparkle of gin, of vodka.
Click and glug splashing over ice.
Clink of cubes. The toast
Here’s to … With no words to follow.
One more became one more.
A craving eased and increased
Sacrament where all heartaches
received a benediction. A hallowing
of every lost sale. Each held breath
negotiated at the bank. What they made
of their lives formed a prayer.
Forgiveness swallowed until the words
slurred and the body disappeared
into the dark sleep of forgetting.