Goats in an Occupied Land

Around the time of late
afternoon call to prayer,
a herd of goats
enters the village,
all ears and bells.
Long ears, swinging
back and forth.
Oddly musical bells,
making a song that is
less ding and more dong.
The goatherd walks alongside,
a man in his forties maybe,
maybe older, wearing brown
trousers and a grey shirt,
as if called from his desk
to guide the goats home.
We stood still as they passed,
watching them as they watched us.
What else had they witnessed that day?
Agile, curious creatures,
foraging for their feed
up and down stony hillsides,
while farmers harvested olives
under the gaze of settlers and soldiers,
of fence and wire and wall.

The deep red soil of the
olive groves turns darker
with every passing day,
every passing year.
Goats come and go to the
village; fewer now, two herds
where once there were twenty.

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