September 2019

Back to Issue 6

Apocalypse with Goats

By Damen O'Brien


On 4th August 2018, in Boise, Idaho, over 100 goats broke loose from a nearby field.


You wake to another creature’s trumps of doom,

the street full of the ragged bellies and beards of goats,

waxy horns of goats, nodding goats as silent as the tomb.


You find them steady on the roofs of cars, they kneel or rise,

nudging through the neighbour’s slatted fence, your trellis.

They turn to watch you with their calm, inhuman eyes.


With their slotted orange eyes, their tombstone teeth,

they stand there, like dazed congregants exiting a church,

confronted by the burning consequences of belief.


A quiet tide of more than a hundred shaggy goats

lost from their own fields and materialising in your street.

You think of Alfred Hitchcock’s Birds, of hungry ghosts.


You look for a sign of blood splashed above your door.

You look for hooves peeking from your boots, a devil’s

satyr flanks, but you seem no different than you were before.


The men come, mending gates and fences and with wide arms,

shift stubborn beasts, and so the busy world begins

the day with broken flower pots and muddy cloven charms.


This is not your Armageddon, nor your guilt or shame,

but as they’re herded and chivvied away into their trucks,

you know there’s been a judgement all the same.