Kyla Houbolt: Two Prose Poems

Martin Roth, from “i grew grass on rugs in a castle”, 2012/19. Source:


the goat has eaten all the grass he can reach on his short tether. the ground around him is bare. he kicks up roots and gnaws on those. he has dug himself into a hole. his tether is a metal chain. he tries to bite into it.

the grass beyond his reach is tall and lush and ripe green. the child tries to yank up the grass but its grip on the ground is too strong. inside, on the wall, is a rusty sword. the child remembers about it, runs inside, climbs on a stool and lifts it down. it is heavy but not too heavy.

holding a hank of grass with one hand and sawing at it with the sword, the child manages to harvest an armful to take to the goat who gobbles it quickly. the child goes back for more. there is nothing else to feed the goat, not even flour. s​oon as the last bread is gone,​ the child thinks (not in words but beneath them) ​we’ll be glad the goat still has some meat on its bones​. the child saws at the grass, so hungry….



so there’s a tree I think may be a portal to another version of things. won’t go into why I think that because it’s too long and I am saving it. but this tree, the other day, asked me for an apple. so I went home and got an apple and the next day I brought it and found a place away from the walk to tuck the apple into the base of the tree.

the day after that the apple was gone. so I thought I should bring the tree a crystal. that’s what you give to magical beings, right? but every day after that for a week, I forgot. so finally I said to the tree, you don’t want a crystal, do you? the tree said, bring me a bar of soap.

I’m thinking okay, I actually have an extra unopened bar of soap, nice soap but nothing I don’t mind parting with, but what if it rains? then I realize that question is from the wrong part of the mind so I decide, yes, okay, weird as it is, I will bring a bar of soap. that would be this morning, when I go out.

it will be interesting to see if the soap disappears as quickly as the apple did. I wonder if on the other side of the portal someone was hungry and now they need a bath. or perhaps this is some kind of test of my willingness to participate in a mystery. or it could be soap is a portal lubricant. most likely, I will never know.


Kyla Houbolt writes mostly poetry, has published in numerous online journals, linked in her Linktree here: Her debut chapbook, Dawn’s Fool, is forthcoming from IceFloe Press this December 2019. She is a Best of the Net nominee, and you can follow her on Twitter @luaz_poet.