…when your baby goat goes missing

When your baby goat goes missing, you’ll probably never get an answer.

You’ll wander in the woods for hours, scraping your legs, brushing against ivy and oak, pulling spiderwebs from your hair, trying to catch the ticks and beat off the mosquitoes, but you won’t find her.

You’ll call out her name and remember she doesn’t know it because you never officially agreed on what it should be.

You’ll see shapes in the trees and rustles in the leaves that will have you running towards them, only to be disappointed.

You’ll start crying, trying to keep your contacts straight so you can navigate your way back to the others.

You’ll pray. You’ll curse. You’ll wonder what you could’ve done.

You’ll slit your wrist as you haphazardly climb back over the wire fence.

You’ll think that it was all worth it if she could just show back up with the herd by the time you get back.

You’ll realize you don’t know how many hours she’s been missing, but that she would’ve come home by now if she could.

You’ll start wishing to find even a body, for closure, but you don’t want to find her body. You want to find her.

You’ll return to find she’s not there, and reach into the pen where her twin brother is being kept up, holding his tiny body against your chest, where his little breaths puff in and out against your hot neck.

You’ll cry. You’ll cry so hard, apologizing to him, to her.

You’ll wonder if he even really knows. He seems off, disoriented.

You’ll keep hoping for a miracle, then think about how this happens every day – in the wild, at farms, to children. You’ll start thinking about all the un-happily ever afters and wonder why this has to happen now, in 2020, when everything else has already gone to hell.

And then you’ll think, of course. This has never happened before but of course it would happen now.

You’ll see a feather on the ground. You’ll see another. You’ll begin to believe that if you just find three, she might appear. Like magic.

You’ll head back inside to clean off the traces of poison and dirt and bite. You’ll keep your eyes set on the window that looks outside. You’ll swear this will never happen again. You’ll begin to write because you can’t speak it.

You’ll just wish you had an answer.