Three Poems

Something about a Goat


My mind is always offering up
images for sacrifice—
a dog flopping in the street
until the pup becomes
a grocery bag.

So today as I cross the little bridge
on my daily walk through town,
I see a white nanny goat lying
dead in the run-off stream,
her head resting on the bank.

I think of Sappho and her love:
I shall burn the fat thigh-bones of
a white she-goat on her altar.

But here it has been raining for days,
and my billy is in California.
It’s suds I am seeing,
a goat-size heap of foam
throttling the run-off.

I walk on thinking pollutants—
sulfates, parabens, phthalates,
triclosan, formaldehyde, toluene,
that knock-on-wood list of stains
that surround us and destroy.

Is this goat white with an earthy, fishy
or cut-grass odor, natural foam
or some MIT soapy concoction
than prevents neurons from communicating?

Farther on, no question what is on the road:
nine turkey buzzards
huddled over a doe that forgot
to look both ways.

A Divination of Sorts
– Portland, Maine


Circling the Back Bay
on our morning walk

we saw two gulls fighting
over what seemed a plastic bag

but on drawing closer,
we imagined haruspices

sparring over the right
to read entrails.

Then a flock of blackbirds
swirled against the clouds,

but not being augurs
we didn’t know how to read that either

though we remembered
the Romans and Etruscans:

how Romulus won the right
to choose the site of Rome

by sitting on his big hill
and seeing twelve vultures

while Remus crouching on his tuffet
saw only six.

Meanwhile our dog Caesar looked up
from sniffing his own omens

as a smiling Tiresias hobbled
towards us and said,

Do you know what you get
if you cross an elephant and a rhinoceros?

That too seemed strange,
but we were on vacation, so we shrugged,

and he said: Elephino—
get it, Ell-if-I-know.

It should have been funny,
but we knew how few elephants

were left to cross
with the even fewer rhinos.

The Minor Poet Writes One More New York Poem


Shoes shuffling through the dead
chewing gum and leaves with that slough-slough sound
of children trying to up the ante, but it’s past 9 am,
so all the little monsters are in school and the sidewalks
are safe from their scooters and bicycles
though as usual I am little worried following
my Drive Medical Walker with flip-up seat
and basket with just enough room for a pint
of non-fat half-and-half and three croissants
without crushing them, you think they’d make
the basket bigger, when down the street
comes the local dog walker with her five dogs in tow,
a Boston terrier, a schnauzer, a dachshund,
a Maltese, and the one-eared pit bull who
always stops to sniff my crotch and the lanky blonde
with the Yankees baseball hat, who happens
to be the dog walker, too bony to be a looker,
at least in my opinion, says as she always says,
Good Morning, Mr. Foster, and the day
doesn’t seem so bad so I throw her in too.

About Lois Marie Harrod

Lois Marie Harrod’s 17th collection Woman is forthcoming from Blue Lyra in December 2019. Recent works include Nightmares of the Minor Poet (Five Oaks Press 2016), And She Took the Heart (Casa de Cinco Hermanas 2016), and Fragments from the Biography of Nemesis (Cherry Grove Press 2013). A Dodge poet, she is published in literary journals and online ezines from American Poetry Review to Zone 3. For more, visit www.loismarieharrod.org.

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