From Beneath the Bridge

I hear the knocking
of their hooves, watch
the wood splinter, needle
the sun shafts that pierce
my dark. Who wouldn’t
challenge the boldness
of young goats crossing
to greener pastures
as if this were some right?

I knew their deception
would end badly for me.
But because they were
trying something new,
I let them through without
pointing out how obvious
they had been. I don’t
eat goat, but conflict
was a way for an old troll

to be seen, for a moment,
as some real obstacle
in their fairy land. So I played
their game of block the bridge,
and my death was just my death
like so many other story endings.
But I must admit the horns
of the big goat caving my stomach
was like the angled hardness

of a temple stone, where rituals
occur that we have long forgotten.

P. Ivan Young received his MFA from the University of South Carolina, where he studied with the late James Dickey. He is a 2011 winner of the Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award, and teaches poetry and creative writing at Salisbury University. His recent poems have appeared in Barnwood, Blue Mesa Review, Buzzard Picnic, The London Magazine, Cream City Review, and Fourteen Hills.