Goats and a Dentist


A study in contrasts

not of absolutes

not of right and wrong

not of chosen and accidental

not even, easily, of planting and ripping up


Obviously I'm thinking through this

as I write, haphazardly


I could go on about plants

gathered from a friend

collected on a walk

from the piazza green market

and the acres of Mondo Verde

all those helpful experts


Plants chosen for hardiness, color

bewitchimg scent and bloom

for history and age

appropriate to the terrain

rapid or slow growth


But not for the most important reason

now obvious


Or the dentist, his gentle hands

positioning my head

just so

for injections, first injections

thank God


Then drilling, cracking

taking out old, ugly, dead tissue

I assume

I kept my eyes closed


The goats come in the night

or maybe just light

removing tender tips

leaves stripped

whole young branches

just strewn


Not even hunger, it appears



But this, I keep reminding myself

a goat's nature

a goat's night of fun with his or her friends

and family

mostly family, I'd wager


and now

the rubble of the garden

and my mouth

though not the same

both raveged



I'm counting on time

for the dentist

(chosen by the picture of a tooth

a sign

on the road to the Roman mosaics)

to finish

and for the goats to stay away

go home