6 Feb ’17

The Goat Trick by Lu Harper

Half man, half goat, I too

have seen him:

lurking about the train tracks

and kicking empty

boxes like kittens,

or limping across the bottled field

between the two housing

projects and the broad green

grins of dumpsters –

smiling with upturned couches.

Sometimes love ends like that.


I don’t care about what you have,

but about what you want:

the licked pulse,

the jut of hipbone,

the warm belly.

I want.

Like pockets heavy with fossils.

I want all the way down to drowning.


The goatman has tricks.

Here’s the main one:

He can throw his voice anywhere.

Into trees, into bees.

Into the mutilated and the dead.

Into parts of your own body.

He throws it!

From the middle of the train tracks:

curve-ball, fast-ball.

There it goes!

Straight at the ugly mug

of your heart:

sitting up there in your chest

like a carnival clown.

Baseballs tossed from all those children

on a field trip to see ART.

There, it flies:

into a shiny red Christmas truck,

a hand-wrought bowl,

into your new best friend, Scottie,

into the love of your life.

Always with a train bearing down,

and each time

I chase the panicked voice:


sounding exactly like

Momma or lover or child.

Sounding like a hurt dog.

And each time I reach it,

there’s no body.


And then there’s the train.

Literary Editor: John Yu Branscum

International Literary Editor: Yi Izzy Yu