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  • William Littlejohn-Oram

False Goat's Beard

by William Littlejohn-Oram

My mistake in the botany section of my sixth-grade science class

is in professing love for False Goat’s Beard. I was told this was a mouthful.

The mistake was not my love, but for not standing up for it.

And now, the class tells me False Goat’s Beard is ugly

because both goats and beards are ugly and being false is, most of all, ugly.

No way they could see the wooden sanctuary, my front yard fort built on the curb

made from all the discarded branches of my neighbor’s bright green bushes,

the pile full of burrowed tunnels carved out by my sister’s hands.

No way I could have known that same afternoon my hideaway would be

compacted into the back of a trash truck for beautiful gardens.

They won’t see how my sister and I hung the delicate lace of Flowered

Goat’s Beard in the wooden ceiling of our hollowed space,

breaking apart the sunlight as it fell through the branches.

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