Issue 26: Adriana X. Jacobs
Tale of a Goat
The father sends his son to find a goat but instead of going home the goat takes him to the Garden of Eden. It's great there, so he sends the goat back with a note for his father. The goat arrives with blood on its neck, and the father kills it. You're a murderer, father says. The goat head falls to the floor and the note rolls out of the goat ear. The note says, here’s the way to paradise. And under this sentence is a drawing of a goat. The man stitches the goat head back onto the goat body. He palpitates the goat chest to get the goat blood flowing. It runs through the stitches. He tries to galvanize the goat but smoke rings swirl out of the goat nose and the goat fur begins to crackle. He sings every prayer he has ever learned over the goat body. He remembers a TV show about a group of kidnapped adults who choreographed a time travel dance. This doesn’t work. The goat corpse decomposes, releasing smells that drive his neighbors away. The goat becomes skin and bones and the man becomes skin and bones. He gets so hungry that he eats the note, and when the goat drawing dissolves in his stomach, he feels a tug and starts moving.
The girl is a player
a rogue, zombie hunter, deliverer
anything you want, translated
anywhere. She excels at clearing the dead
and urgent requests: recovering
an old camera (pictures of skies
and trees and dicks), vintage games, VCRs,
and special glassware. The best pizza
in the apocalypse. The main story is killer but
when there’s a ? in the uncharted map, she’s there, always
someone needs something in record time
and she’s good at staying alive.
Sign of the times
The sun hits the TV screen. Family pictures are still arranged on the dresser. Cockroaches lie belly up spelling psalms across the dust. The bed is unmade because the shooting was alarming. The tub is a terrarium. Maybe there was time for one more shower. The electric toothbrush hummed for a few more hours. Someone pounded on the door. Someone turned into the kitchen and said, I’ll make the coffee.
Some women treat their bodies like a garbage disposal, says the model. She shoots cut grass into her veins. So hurtful says the woman reading this. It’s not that hard, says the model, to not be trash. But you have to want it. The woman scrapes dry spaghetti from the highchair and blends it in her mouth.
Her head turns fungal.
The air tastes like a tripwire.
She heads out into the wreck
crushed and juiced and wholesome.
Adriana X. Jacobs is a poet, scholar, and translator of Hebrew poetry based in Oxford and New York City. Her translation of Vaan Nguyen's The Truffle Eye recently came out with Zephyr Press. She is currently working on a collection of poems and essays on contemporary poetry, video games, and the undead. ‘Tale of a Goat’ reimagines S. Y. Agnon’s 1925 short story “Me’aseh ha-’ez” (‘Tale of the Goat’).
Copyright © 2021 by Adriana X. Jacobs, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.