Huddled against the wooden gate,
the children watch the beasts.
Orange light spills over the ground – consuming
child and beast and me,
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
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
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,
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.