A sheep lay dead in its strewn wool

and never did the field look so green.

Simply put, we both went quiet.

Before us the road hymned

to the wolf or dog, teeth like stars

who freed from flock and body

a sheep.  I reached for your hand,

or for instinct, whatever might lead

through the silent miles

of closer, come closer

because I'd entered the woods

bordering darkness

where castaways live under tarp and twine

and I'd disappeared, my whereabouts known to no one. 

On that night how the stars

rained down, rained a traveling howling

carousel that took my lily-white face,

my tambourine hands, still to be lost,

still to be found, and of me made

a star pattern at the edge of our universe

where, across a great divide, I waved to the lights

of ships trammeling into the void.

I've been falling back towards earth ever since.

Falling and waking in those woods

to trees rosining their boughs,

wind resonating a hymn-like hum,

and my heart bleating the distance

of one, one-two, one.

Eliza Rotterman currently teaches writing at the University of Oregon.  She has published poetry in Phoebe and reviews in Zoland Poetry.

I live in the country and am accustomed to driving through fields of sheep happily grazing.  On a particularly sunny winter day, I noticed a sheep after what must have been a coyote attack.   You'd think it would be an appalling sight, but actually it was beautiful.  Instead of blood and carnage, there were fluffy wisps of wool. The field was positively glowing.  The next day the sheep was gone, but I was struck by its image and begin meditating on death as a moment of connection, liberation, and beauty.



Copyright 2009