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Poem of the Week by Paul A. White

The Escape Goat

By Paul A. White

We kept him in a slant roof shack attached to the back of the house, with a mud floor. He was chained to a post, like the rod of Moses, and we would throw him scraps of food when we scraped the plates.

Who knew his cry would be our call when times got rough? Who knew we could all ride him out of town, like a Chinese bicyclist. After many years of practice in the circus, he has learned to carry ten riders, standing on his arms and thighs and shoulders.

There goes my family now, up over the horizon, our faithful escape goat, Jethro, on the bottom. His step is as steady as his mountain brothers in the clouds. There, see little Sophie waving from up top?

PAUL A. WHITE was recently named one of four recipients of the first annual New York State “Poetry Unites” contest for an essay he wrote on David Ignatow’s poem “Sunday at the State Hospital.” He lives in Cheektowaga and is a registered nurse working in pediatric home care. Diagnosed as schizophrenic at age 17, he has made writing a daily practice for more than 20 years. His chapbook, “The Difficult Gift” published in 2011 by Jeanne Duval Editions of Atlanta, contains poems about his affliction, its treatment and his recovery.