Andrea Luttrell


She lived at the corner
of two streets that went
nowhere in particular,

in a colorless house
that seemed to be made only
of rotten shingles

My mother told me
the goat lady
had been a teacher once.

My mother was a teacher.
I suddenly saw her
as I saw the old woman

alone, surrounded by goats.
Where would she be
without me or my father?

I have often wondered
how women bend
into the drift of their lives.

What made the goat lady,
her skinny bones, that ache
between back and shoulder

a comma, a pause
between breath
and meaning?

Her house seemed to gray
in time with her hair
built of wood in a village of brick,

the whistling wind, the braying goats
the water tower, empty.
What mystery did she ever see

except for the one
that embodied her?
Except for the metaphor

we dressed her in
like a doll we owned.
I didn't want her to be alone.

I want to think that she
was not unhappy.
That she had some secret.

Perhaps a woman,
whose soft hand lay
beside hers, milking goats,

and sweet as puppies.

The dreams they built
could have room
among the tall grass,

filling the graying time
until the old wood house
sagged heavy with joy.

Andrea Luttrell received her MFA from NYU where she served as co-editor-in-chief for the literary journal, Washington Square. Her work has been published in Painted Bride Quarterly, S/tick, Stirring and is forthcoming from Tinderbox. She has received a Tin House Fellowship to attend the Summer Literary Seminars in Russia, and more recently, a SAFTA residency fellowship through Sundress Publications. Her poem "Housekeeping" was published as a limited-edition broadside by Saucebox Book Arts. She lives and teaches in Texas.

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