Shepherd

Stuck in sage on a brash escarpment, he was left with a crook to shake
At coyotes : wind-sucking shapes in the night that would tear a lamb
In two without a bleat escaping. A ribcage dragged by the sleeping form.
No fight here: his knife now sheathed in leather, creation being its only use.

Had to gouge fake loves in place, up to split in the white bark,
Around a knot, or with the grain and lenticels, jagged out with
Slapdash ovals for eyes, wide-open cartoon legs, seemingly detached
From the width of the pelvis. Breasts larger than two hands on the aspen’s
Arc, soft on hard wood, the only life to caress for days and miles.

“God help me I am so lonely”, was one caption I read, near the roots.
As if the soft of the earth was sacred in this place, the only ear. “Lucia, dearest”
Were the cut words on a lodgepole pine, complete with lips across
A huge canker in the wood where a man could bury his whole face inside.

Andrew McCall

 

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