SMALL RUMINANTS - Lesley-Anne Evans

On the morning we dropped,

a torrent of red on white wool

(bath from our mother’s tongue,

hint of light),

On the morning we pushed 

from her warm constricting comfort

into the pastoral shadow

of dark wings tearing at placenta,

On the morning we began,

little dark lamb, little white lamb,

our cleansing first breaths,

there were death songs, 

there was call and response.

Did you feel a revelation 

when the wind shook 

the scarecrow in the early hours?

When it was still night — not day —

(a lid, a blind eye, 

the back of God’s head,)

When the shepherd

Who said I will never 

leave you nor forsake you

was in the croft house

drinking coffee after all night 

In the fields, in our white-lambed

season of tender tongues

and gull-torn rectums,

when our unopened eyes

Are pried awake by

hooked beaks. Did you

hear our mother delivered 

from the inside out?

Did you love the sheepdog,

her brown eyes watching

you fostered by the stovepipe?

As you suckled a strange nipple,

Did you know the darkness 

that set you apart

was your complicated saviour?

I am white bones,

the dark spot on the X-ray

wringing its hands,

the loss the womb cannot

fully comprehend. 


MAYBE - Steve Tomkins

MAYBE - Steve Tomkins