A Poem For Sunday

Sheep Skull

Stump of a horn, crater of an eye, dints, hollows and hairline cracks,
Grooved teeth with triple points that click in the long-dry runners of the jaw
Now the gums have gone back. Holes for drainage and handling pressure
In the open system of the head, closely packed as orchestral instruments’
Resonating-chambers and pipes. Ending abruptly in the absence of a neck.

Thoughts gather, as the flies once gathered: helping dip the sheep as a child,
Helping without helping, just greasing my hands on their coats as they passed
From one enclosure into the next. Them sensing a danger and doubling back
Against the barred gates their cumbersome bodies, the blunt of their heads.
Some drowning in only a foot of dip as the other sheep trampled them down.

-Frances Leviston