It’s easy to stargaze
here on Lanyu but, girlfriend,
you’ll need to feed the kid’s first
on island figs, if you can find them,
and yams, and sweet grass growing
in the mud along the edges
of taro fields. Don’t eat the taro!
It’s fit for pigs and bipeds only.
Stand outside a villager’s hut
if you must and try not to plop
droppings on their doorstep.
Instruct your offspring to cry
in weak and wavering voices
and a biped will tie a bouquet
of sweet potato vines to a fencepost
and attempt to kiss and pet
your babies. Let them.
Do not butt a biped
under any circumstances!

Before the sun dives into the cool
Pacific you’ll need to choose between
Lover’s Cave and Dragon’s Head Rock,
the former requiring a two-day
trek with your whining tribe
past Mount Hongtou
(not recommended, Mama)
and the latter, an easy march
past Greenfield Pasture (yum)
and the disturbingly defoliated
nuclear waste dump.
But don’t let that get your goat,
just keep hoofing it; the Rock
is right around the corner.

If you’re lucky and it’s a moonless
night, the Milky Way will explode
across the sky, illuminating
the microcosm of roots and
chiaroscuro scrabble
of old goat bones under your
hooves as you clop and climb
to the summit. Don’t tell
the wee ones about the bones!
Or worry about them slipping.
They’re goats for gods’ sake!
Sure-footed and glowing
with caprine intelligence
like you, and like the swirling
cosmos of constellations
in which Capella, the goat star,
waits to twinkle for you.


Map courtesy of http://www.lanyuisland.com/lanyu-island-maps/
Photo by the author.

3 thoughts on “A She-goat’s Guide to Watching the Night Sky on Orchid Island

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