The way the Boer goat

          looks, grazing forbs and shrubs,

horns the color of moon

          waning crescent—so like our faces

fading beneath hospital lights.

          It’s true that for months we ignored

the rustling in the brush, the feral breeze.

          We couldn’t admit what crouched

inside it. Now, what settles first

          is not the doctor’s words

but how they’ve drawn the room together.

          For, even after the strike, the body

is still beautiful—body quieted by

          medicine and cut into,

body in which the fields of healing

          are endless. I know it.





Melissa Studdard is the author of the poetry collection I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast. Her work has appeared or been featured in The Guardian, The New York Times, Poetry, New Ohio Review, Psychology Today, Poets & Writers, and elsewhere, and has received awards such as The Forward National Literature Award, the International Book Award, and the REEL Poetry Festival Audience Choice Award. She is currently working on a poetry manuscript narrated mostly from the perspective of the severed tongue of the mythological character Philomela. To learn more, visit