WHEN I LIE WITH THE DYING LAMB

When I lie with the dying lamb
in the manger, I desire so little,
because life is already
more than I can take,
nestled in the hay, listening
to the gasps of tiny breath -- the hiss
of the propane lantern hanging overhead.
The mother is dead in the corner,
and soon death will follow death
as it has done for the millenniums
since this unholy mess invented itself
in a chemical fog that should
make any thinking creature bitter.

How our blood surges for the newborn,
the gorgeous miracle and enigma --
even though we will slaughter this lamb
for meat in four months if it survives,
which it won't. Death is seconds away.
I look into its eyes, seeking the mystery,
but they are already filled with the secrets
    of the other side, the place
    where we can't go, until we go.
And I lie still in the hay, holding the black hoof
of a dead lamb -- feeling left behind once again,
    uninstructed.


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