Old Mrs. Aggrey and I have a weird kind of relationship. Certainly not of the amorous kind, for she is old; a septuagenarian perhaps. Think of it, instead, like the relationship between oil and water—we’ve got things that do not go together.
There is a small edible garden that I keep in the back of my house where the jagged concrete fence towers, casting its shadows and alleviating the heat of the fiery afternoon sun—a garden of spinach and fluted pumpkin, of carrots and sweet potatoes, of unwelcome couch grass and creeping foxglove. She keeps a nanny goat that, perhaps, has gone soliciting, and now, bloated at the sides from her licentiousness, eats only for two.
I do not worry so much about the voraciousness of this new diet because you know, to each his own. But I worry, however, about the ‘where’ of it. You see, never has old Mrs. Aggrey kept a pen, nor does she keep the bloody goat on a leash. Time and again, these past months, I have booed and shooed, hurled stones and sticks. But, as I have since learned, there is a reason why people say “stubborn goat”.
Today, I watched the gooey bubble appear, swollen with amniotic fluid. I watched her bleat and huff, deep in the throes of labor. I watched the glazed look plague her white face. I watched her hinds give under her so that she lay on the moist earth for what remained. And then, I watched the bubble expand until the kid plopped to the ground, a little bloodied around the head, but wholly ensconced in clear goo, like a film of phlegm. I watched mama goat bleat softly afterwards, and it all made sense to me about mothers and their young. Too bad, I thought.
* * * Ten minutes ago, as I gazed from my porch to see old Mrs. Aggrey put the beautiful still kid in the earth, I cursed myself for throwing that gigantic rock yesterday.