Black Phillip

The Witch

In 2015, Robert Eggers released a movie titled, “The Witch” wherein an English settler family in America in 1603 live at the edge of the forest and begin to accuse each other of communing with Satan and witchery. While traditionally not regarded as a familiar for witches, the poster for the movie and the vehicle of accusations in the movie is a goat named, Black Phillip.

The Child

As a child, things were happening to me that I did not understand. I believed everyone knew it was happening. I still do. Because of the nature of the things that were happening, I stayed silent. But I acted out violently and erratically. I was threatened by mt mother and stepfather that if I continued the behavior and did not ell them why I was behaving in that way, they would send me to an asylum. I was more afraid to be sent away than of what was happening. I promised to behave.

The Goat Child

In 2015, I painted myself as a child using an old photograph as reference. I could not paint my face so I painted the face of a goat instead. I could not paint the face of the child I silenced. I silenced him to save him. I didn’t know the damage I was doing to him. To me.


In 2016, my mother feared she was dying as a result of a brain aneurysm To get her mind off of it, I asked her to write out her life story. She opened by writing that she was born in a village at the foot of the Bavarian mountains and, she wrote, the Bavarian mountains was rumored to house witches.

Satan in the Forest

For a very very long time, I believed that the acts of my stepbrother turned me gay. I had communed with something I was not supposed to and I liked it. I had thought God had turned from me and damned me for it. I had thought my stepbrother was a test I had failed. I was eight.


A few years ago, I visited my sister. We sat on her porch at night talking. She told me she blamed herself. We were not talking about what happened. We never did. We just mentioned his name and something was summoned between us. I told her that she was not to blame; I told her she was a child too. We stopped talking and stared into the black night of Florida swamp.