The Goat, or, after the Argument


By Ellyn Lichvar

The goat hollers in waves
like a child in a well.
He rests on neighboring
land, just out of sight but
he is white, he is a he.
You hear it too and wade out
belly deep in dark water
to glimpse him, smell it,
taste the worried air
on that side of the fence.
It reminds you of Scott Harvey,
when he climbed to the school’s roof
in fourth grade, said he was
fixing to jump off but
never did. Everything
is turning green, humidity
hanging like a hog belly above us.
I think of sharp hooves on cliffs,
the black points of balance.
Who took the first step down
into all of this and when
did it happen? His screaming
transfixes us because we can’t stop
screaming either. When you
call out to him he answers,
a different scream to match
the one from deep in your belly.
The water around you swells
with waves. I climb in to wet my hair.


Ellyn Lichvar is the assistant managing editor of The Louisville Review and works on the staff of Spalding University's low residency MFA in the Writing Program. Her poems have appeared in The Minnesota ReviewWhiskey Island,The Journal, ParcelThe Boiler, and others.