j' (borzoi_schenok) wrote in fulltime_dreamr,
j'
borzoi_schenok
fulltime_dreamr

James Tate

It Happens Like This


I was outside St. Cecelia's Rectory



smoking a cigarette when a goat appeared beside me.



It was mostly black and white, with a little reddish



brown here and there. When I started to walk away,



it followed. I was amused and delighted, but wondered



what the laws were on this kind of thing. There's



a leash law for dogs, but what about goats? People



smiled at me and admired the goat. "It's not my goat,"



I explained. "It's the town's goat. I'm just taking



my turn caring for it." "I didn't know we had a goat,"



one of them said. "I wonder when my turn is." "Soon,"



I said. "Be patient. Your time is coming." The goat



stayed by my side. It stopped when I stopped. It looked



up at me and I stared into its eyes. I felt he knew



everything essential about me. We walked on. A police-



man on his beat looked us over. "That's a mighty



fine goat you got there," he said, stopping to admire.



"It's the town's goat," I said. "His family goes back



three-hundred years with us," I said, "from the beginning."



The officer leaned forward to touch him, then stopped



and looked up at me. "Mind if I pat him?" he asked.



"Touching this goat will change your life," I said.



"It's your decision." He thought real hard for a minute,



and then stood up and said, "What's his name?" "He's



called the Prince of Peace," I said. "God! This town



is like a fairy tale. Everywhere you turn there's mystery



and wonder. And I'm just a child playing cops and robbers



forever. Please forgive me if I cry." "We forgive you,



Officer," I said. "And we understand why you, more than



anybody, should never touch the Prince." The goat and



I walked on. It was getting dark and we were beginning



to wonder where we would spend the night.
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