Leveler Poetry Journal
About Leveler Submission Guidelines More Poems



I want to hold

your five day old goat.

Last week I was alone

and this week

is a small animal

in my bare arms,

sharing urban heat,

both of us refusing


the wild clearings.

If you have nothing

to say, I too can quiet.

Then a camera crew gathers

to catch some explosive spontaneity

that isn’t happening

because it already happened

and keeps happening.

Adam Deutsch

Yes: levelheaded


Adam Deutsch’s “Yes” is a celebration of a connection between the poem’s speaker and the “you” he is speaking to. In line one, the speaker’s desire for physical connection is presented: “I want to hold[.]” With the surprising next line, that seemingly intense first line becomes a silly first sentence. For all its goofiness though, the sentiment of these opening lines remains tender. The speaker wants to have a unique shared experience with “you” marked by the fragility of a five day old animal.


The speaker’s need for connection and the power felt through holding “a small animal / in [his] bare arms” is further heightened by the simple admission that “Last week I was alone.” It’s as if the goat is a stand-in for “you.” Their “sharing urban heat” and “refusing / the wild clearings” read as conscious decisions to be bound to one another, preferring the limits imposed by the walls of buildings (by the choice of one another) to open pasture (to the possibility of someone or somewhere else being better).


With that acceptance comes solidarity: “If you have nothing / to say, I too can quiet.” “I” bends to “you.” On the whole, that bending seems to be positive. Just as the speaker seems to marvel about his change of fortune in being alone one week and baby goat in-hand in another, he seems pleasantly surprised by the “explosive spontaneity” at the poem’s close. In these final lines, the speaker seems to be acknowledging that any time two people connect, if that connection is sustained, routines may form, experiences may begin to repeat themselves; and yet, past experiences can never be recreated completely. Instead, new experiences explode into being. You can never hold a baby goat the same way twice.



– The Editors