Equus luciferis, Greta Hayer
A goat is not a horse. It is too small and has devil eyes and makes a sound more like a sheep’s sound, which is not a whinny or a neigh. A goat has cloven hooves and horns and is born in pairs. But important things come in threes and sometimes a triplet goat falls to the ground even smaller than the smallest horse and cannot reach its mother’s milkbag. But those third goats are the special ones. You cannot carry a horse like you can carry an orphan goat, close enough to your body that you can feel its little heart beating. It sucks on your fingers and soon it is following you like a dog but moving with awkward leaps like a fawn through the too-tall grass. A horse would never move like that. A goat that you have raised since birth will speak to you with little bleats. It knows secrets that the other animals don’t know. You will make it a crown of purple clover blossoms and let it eat your mother’s raspberries, and if it truly loves you it will rub its forehead on your belly and scratch its sigil onto your skin with its curving horns.
Greta Hayer received her MFA at the University of New Orleans and has work appearing or forthcoming in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Booth, Maudlin House, Cossmass Infinites, and Flint Hills Review. She lives in New Orleans with her husband and alien cats.