When I was in high school, I used to sneak down to the gym after classes to watch the wrestlers work out. Anzalone. Salanitro. Radicia. Vacanti. Mancuso. Digilio. I had crushes on all those lithe, nimble Italian boys. I loved their black hair, dark eyes, swarthy sweaty muscles and the way they grabbed one another in forbidden places. I fantasized that a Digilio or Vacanti would snatch me one day from the lunch room and carry me to his house in a part of town I’d been warned against by my parents. In my fantasy, in that house with crucifixes over each bed, my captor waited patiently while I permed my hair, painted my nails, ditched my orthopedic oxfords for purple stilettos and, for a month, lamented my former life while eating pepperoni pizza. But then, for no apparent reason, my captor lost interest and kicked me to the curb. His mother, bless her heart, gave me a jar of her homemade Ragu Bolognese to take with me, but she only understood Sicilian so there was no way I could explain that pancetta, even uneaten, is nonetheless tref.
Yesterday, while walking down my suburban street, I come upon a goat gone astray. Granted, this is no ox or sheep, but still - a lost goat can’t be ignored, either. So I put a rope around the creature's neck, walk her to our house, take construction paper, a magic marker and make a dozen posters that read FOUND. LOST GOAT.
I put my cell number on the poster, plus a picture of the goat, and then drag her behind me while I tack the flyers on phone poles and trees in the neighborhood.
On the way back home, I find a lost ass, one red flip-flop and a car key.
Obviously some fellow(s) lost this stuff, but after schlepping back and forth with the goat, I’m tired and don’t give a rat’s patootie about finding the owners. Sue me.
So far, no one’s called to claim the goat. I named her Zlateh, an homage to I.B. Singer who would consider the events in this story perfectly normal.
Our next-door neighbors are getting a new roof.
From my window I watch the crew
working up there,
lithe and nimble,
ripping up old tarp,
tacking down new shingles,
dancing to Juan Gabriel’s voice
crooning from their boombox.
Queridaaaaaa, cada momento de mi vidaaaaa, yo pienso siempre en ti mi vida mira mi soledad.
“Please be careful,” I want to shout
across the yard. “Don’t slip.”
But they only understand Spanish,
so there’s no way I can warn them
against the potential danger of falling
copyright 2016 Ozzie Nogg