It's never time to go down to the well, to go into the well, but today, and today, and today is the time. So we go, at last, and take the goat milk we have squeezed from the tethered teets into the well, and dangle it to keep it cold. The little round stone edged spring is getting too full to keep the all the daily milk as the goat grows large. The largeness of the goat becomes a shape we find we love, as if someone, somewhere, is taking care of us. As if we can now relax. We can now go down into the well and see the sparkling water take all the hurry away from life, and we can feel it dance into our skulls, and merriment makes sense again.
As we go into the well, we find the skull makes drawings of its own, as we dangle milk, but also feet, and also hair, and also bosoms, and also the rest of our lives. The skull's drawings are lazy, melodic, something we wish we could have seen all these years, but only now is it time to look. If we had looked before, we would have told someone. Keeping secrets is not our wish. It is our command.
But we tell them to each other. We feel we are riding on a boat in the well. That is our secret. We aren't. We know we aren't. But the parts of us that feel the most, that tell the secrets to each other in the darkest featherings of daylight onto the dusk, feel the movement forward, the passing of the scenery, the waves slightly washing over our delights, the wandering fishes and the desire to slide forward into some adventure we don't understand as yet, until we get there.
But we are simply where we are. The goat nudges us from above. The hairs on its chin muffle its muttering, and its skin is moist, laughable, and it's big. Bigger all the time, almost shapeless, casting a shadow of something being alright, always, no matter where we go, or if we go only in reflections of the water on the well, into the shadow of its body, bigger, wider, matronly, and smiling with its tummy.
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published in Spilt Milk Issue 2, 2010
I wrote this when living in rural Alabama, where goats, donkeys, and sheep wandered by regularly. Before that, it was lamas. And Sasquatch.