I’m standing at the stove cooking pancakes
when in walks a goat.
The goat is black and white and gives me
a look over the bridge of his nose that I recognize
as a look of sadness.
And so I have a sad goat in my kitchen.
The tornado sirens have stopped.
He’s countertop height.
The cast on my arm under the sleeve
of my sweater isn’t visible to the goat, and I’m
glad for that. I flip the pancakes.
The goat shakes gently his beard, kicks
his left hoof, and stomps. I try to imagine
anything as smooth as a flipped pancake
as I wait for the other side to brown.
So what if the old man on the bus is trying and failing to remember his dead mom’s face, as if the past were not a cartoon tunnel scratched on a wall? He’s still trying, and when did we forget our cattle-shoes and feather-parkas, how we carry with us a lowing sadness, an extinguished memory of flight? Today I’m going to count all the blackbirds between the prison and the Walmart where, right now, in its galloping sadness a bald man who sounds like a car horn is hector-lecturing his infant-hushing girlfriend—as her unhappiness, radiant as a cleat, sharp as an ice skate, sprays to a sudden stop. Right now, at the emergency crisis center right next to the gun store, the nurse feels entombed in hours like a fly in amber as the waiting room TVs spin despair’s golden honey— and I think of the ice I waded out on as a kid, of how often the world seems like it’s going to shatter, but then, miraculously, mercilessly, does not.