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Sunday, May 27, 2007


by Paul Nelson

Of last spring's lambs, at ease by the shed,
the brown ram will not go in for frost-soft apples,
not for grain, and it's this one pisses the fruit,
the thickened chard I've strewn on the ground,
and still butts the oblong bag of the one big ewe,
his eyes so dark and wide-set that he looks at nothing,
takes it all in with dead, dis-focused confidence,
stamps a delicate hoof, veers, moiling as if
he knows I intend to kill him, as if I were God.
He shoulders through the flock as he pleases,
tosses dollar leaves in the air while others
are keen to climb the ramp. This one must be first,
caught, cut, bled and taken to the hoist.
The rest will sleep, graze, calm, once he is.

Paul Nelson is gainfully retired as Prof.of English and Director of Creative Writing for Ohio University, five books, many magazines, AWP Award for Poetry, NEA Fellowship, now trolling off the North Shore of O'ahu.