I mean, you
are a goat and a human reaches out their hand, and sure it has feed
in it, but you’ve never met them before, and they’re not your keeper.
What happened to buy me dinner first and can I trouble you for a cup
of sugar, neighbor? Not that goats need sugar for anything, not that
they have a concept for buying dinner. But don’t you want to be known,
a little, first? Don’t you want a scratch behind the ears, not under
the belly as that isn’t just the right spot, and don’t you want your water
bowl changed and hay replenished and fur brushed and affirmations
affirmed before a stranger can be someone with a name, before you
can reach out and take something from someone without fear, without
wondering if it’s all some plot? But there we are, slack-jawed and stupid
and in awe, leaning into the pen making pspspspsp like we’re calling
over a house cat, arms outstretched, hands pale and ugly and shaking
in the cold, hoping we can be trusted, hoping you’ll trust us, hoping
we will be trusted just once, by more than just a stranger, an animal,
a thing so afraid yet so hungry like us, so afraid and so hungry like us.
Brendan Bense is a poet and UC Irvine MFA candidate whose work can be found in Columbia Journal, The Crab Orchard Review, Rust + Moth, and elsewhere. Before joining the cohort at UCI, he worked as a writer and editor in New York and Philadelphia.