Faintless Goats

by Mitchell Grabois

The sensei had given her a Buddha name: Moon Pillow, which I thought suited her pretty good, though I can’t explain why, but it had something to do with Cat Steven’s song, “Moon Shadow.”


If I ever lose my mouth

all my teeth go north and south

If I ever lose my mouth…

I won’t have to talk

Anyway, this futile quest for enlightenment was better than her other phases: high school slut, mixed martial arts fighter (knocking down chicks and sitting on them, bashing their faces until the referee stepped in) alcoholic poet, meth head. I just rode through it all, the forbearing boyfriend, like a tourist taking in the views.

This Zen period, I saw as a welcome rest. She’d rode me hard through the changes, put me away wet. I welcomed a break. I thought: Maybe she’ll get enlightened. Maybe I will too.

A long time ago, I had my own meditation pillow. My sister gave it to me for a high school graduation present. It was used. Someone else’s ass had sat on it before me. Maybe they got enlightened too. Maybe it was once the sensei’s pillow before he got one fringed with gold. I knocked the dust from it and sneezed, a pre-enlightenment sneeze.


Purely for entertainment, I take Moon Pillow to the geyser. The man at the cash register tells me the geyser will blow every ten minutes, without fail.

I ask him, If it fails, will I get a refund? He looks at me as if I am a Jew from New York. I am a Jew from New York. I watch the geyser. I consult my watch. The geyser goes off every four minutes.

The geyser has a petting zoo featuring fainting goats. When fainting goats are panicked, their muscles freeze for ten seconds and they fall over on their sides. But because so many boorish tourists have tried to frighten them, they are inured to yells and booga-booga jumping around, and have thus overcome their hereditary genetic disorder.


The fainting goats won’t faint, I tell the man at the cash register, I want my money back.


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