Carefully Cutting; The Goat Knows by Matthew James Friday

Carefully Cutting

Across the open courtyard
in a halo of yellow light
the old woman sits
eating her lunch, carefully
cutting apart her meal,
making the most of each
morsel, chewing over what
has been: children, husband,
parents just a faint taste,
nothing to say, eating alone
under a yellow light.
Later
she shuffles past windows,
a flickering image on film,
a grainy reflection
of my wife without me.

 

The Goat Knows

The goat knows
it is the festival of Dashain
in Kathmandu: time to die
in thanks to Maa Durga
for defeating the buffalo- demon Mahishasura
after ten days of fighting.
But the goat is no hungry Hindu,
its legs speak of living
stubbornly sticking out into the gutter.
The goat’s owner, a boy
with a mischievous grin,
wishing for Maa Durga’s ten arms,
tugs, tugs, tugs at the leash.
The goat’s head nods
in the image of agreement
to the wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita,
but the legs knows better:
the head will soon be sliced off,
stuck on a table, tongue sticking out,
tasting the lies of goat afterlife,
blood running in the gutter.
So the legs keep battling
with the heart of a buffalo
and the boy tugs, tugs, tugs
with all ten of his imaginary arms
and suddenly wins, dragging the goat
up onto the pavement,
off to meet its maker
and make Maa Durga happy.

 

——

Matthew James Friday has had poems published in the following UK and worldwide magazines and literary journals: A Handful of Stones, Bolts of Silk, The Brasilia Review (Brazil), Cadenza, Cake Magazine, Carillon, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal (Hong Kong), Dreamcatcher, Earth Love, Eastlit (East Asia), Erbacce, Envoi, Finger Dance Festival, Gloom Cupboard, IS&T (Ink, Sweat & Tears), The Journal, The New Writer, Orbis, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, Sonic Boom, Third Wednesday (USA), Of Nepalese Clay (Nepal), The Peacock Journal, Pens on Fire, Pulsar Poetry, Rear View Poetry, Red Ink, South Bank Poetry Magazine, The Dawntreader, We Are a Website New Literary Journal (Singapore) and Writing Magazine.