Perception

Published Sunday, July 1, 2012 by Chasing Neptune

Huddled against the wooden gate,

the children watch the beasts.

Orange light spills over the ground – consuming

child and beast and me,

the caretaker.

As hooves inch closer, the little girl places her fingers

in her mouth, tucks her head into her brother’s arm. He stands

taller, quivering lips whisper, I think we’re done

here.

Another step – the beasts sniff at their tennis shoes,

breath pouring out of nostrils in steamy clouds. The children

shiver, eyes wide open and throats

closed.

It’s okay. They won’t hurt you.

Fingers crawling up the beasts’ necks, I find the base

of their horns and scratch the spaces in between. They curl

their heads back, staring up at the children with blank,

blue eyes.

Necks arching further, the beasts look up at me.

I smile, seeing only Jack and Pete,

the goats I raised from infancy.

The orange light flickers – electronic fire –

and the children gasp. They cannot see my sweet

boys. In the glow, they see only sharp horns, pointed

hooves, and soulless eyes:

the devil’s creatures.

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