Little Lamb

The crumbling barn sloped leftward,
blackened by the backdrop of dusk,
the fields ragged, the woods blurred
by the dead day’s discarded husk.

She leaned on a rotten fence
of cedar posts and barb-toothed wire
blinking back tears to make sense
of dying light and Sodom’s fire.

Wearing a wool sweater vest
made by momma for Winter’s cold,
she was by beauty much blest
like her momma— but young, not old

Her thighs were bruised, her knees scabbed,
and she stood with her legs apart;
beneath her dress a pain stabbed
straight to the center of her heart.

There were horrors that scarred men:
famines, devils, tyrants, and wars,
but such were oft forgotten
in the daily routine of chores.

What she feared most was the thought
of daddy’s hands groping for fleece
within the pen, the lambs caught
and lifted and shorn, piece by piece.

She saw how he held the sheep,
pressed down under his grunting weight
late at night, momma asleep
while winds beat at the bleating gate.

So much blood from the nicking
as he drunkenly spread the shears
to cut, cut, cut, the blades pricking
the loins of a lamb young in years.

She would flee the farm tonight
while daddy drank in the black barn,
and find her way by moonlight
up the mountains, to the cold tarn.

Once there, she would drown the lamb
lest daddy could again sheer her,
knowing now the rutting ram
and not wanting daddy near her.

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