Rebecca Morgan Frank
The Goat’s Eye
after The Three Surgeons
The surgeons were showing off.
“Cut off my hand!” “Dig out
my eye!” “Carve my heart right
out!” Each one bragged, “I
will sew it back into the seam
of me.” As always, a servant girl
is blamed for the missing parts,
and her lover saves the day
by scavenging for organs
at the gallows and the farmyard.
The real thief, the cat, pays
only with her golden eye,
the pupil a slender almond
slit, vertical and calculating.
But in the original, the surgeon’s
eye is replaced with a goat’s.
The pupil of a goat’s eye is square,
a panoramic camera capturing
all future violence. A scapegoat
was made to take on the sins of man.
So what does a goat see from
inside a man? The greed of grass
changing hands? Something the satyr
can’t hear? Can’t run from?
The surgeon carves up the goat,
the three surgeons feast and drink.
The servant girl cleans the bloody
knife, the platter, three plates.
Listen at the edge of the yard– the crickets
bubbling up, tuning the end of summer.
The baseball game calling through static.
Over on the bridge, an old man is still fishing.
No one has told them they’ve stopped stocking
the pond. No one has told him the game has ended.
Why shouldn’t the dead talk through
these currents? Who says we’re not listening?
in the yard,
unspoken and rusted,
holds the threat of barb,
the slippery mud’s
impatience with our
steps. You once
asked for my forgiveness
and I withheld
what a lie was
and how its roots
the yard was full
it had been crawling
the whole time.