I do not recognise this young goat.
He’s stolen my favourite book
And he won’t give it back.

He speaks fluent German,
But refuses to acknowledge my claim on the book,
Arguing that he plucked it himself from the tree by the edge of the reservoir.

I push him down the grassy slope
But he isn’t bothered by this,
And he floats back up to the top of the hill in that exact way that goats don’t often do.

An elderly hedgehog glides past,
And the goat throws the book at her
Before stealing her croissants and hairnets.

He curls himself up in a newspaper and rolls away from his crime.
I help the hedgehog back up onto her bicycle.
She whispers something to me in a melodic tone that is so elegant that it distracts me from the words she is actually saying.
It was probably something about blackberries, or Nazis.

She does a wheelie and rides away,
Clicking her fingers out of rhythm with the squeaks of her unoiled gears.

The moon jumps out from behind a cloud, and I realise that it’s almost noon,
And I’ve wasted half the evening,
But at least I got my book back.

– Rivenberg