The new neighbors out back,
quiet and peaceful, have two kids.
From my window I spy on them
as they roam the yard, unused.
A castor jungle competes with starry flowering lantana,
honey to the butterflies,
and the dumping ground of trash.
They pick around and munch on this and that.
Then someone climbed the great tree
that blocked the looming distant mountain range.
He lopped off its huge limbs,
until a flesh-less skeleton remained to mar the view.
Piles of firewood lay stacked,
the smaller stuff, a tangled mess, left strewn
as though a hurricane blew through.
I watched the scrambling kids with dainty hoofs climb heaps of sticks
and then on cue, at heel to parents, followed to explore
a never finished roofless room, brick walls and not much more.
Today I saw a tarp, a make-shift roof, thrown atop those walls -
and peeking through a gap, no longer free,
my neighbor stared at me
with doleful eyes beneath sharp horns -
a brown billy goat imprisoned in that brick shack,
with tawny nanny goat and their albino kids, shut in.
I have heart ache for them.
—By Gabrielle Blair—