From Issue I (2016)
by ALEXIS LATHEM
The ewes begin to stir when they see us coming.
From far across the field, leopard-spotted
with half-melted snow and tufts
of tea-colored grass, we hear the slush
of a dying winter
and as we near, we see the pink
spring petals of their tongues.
I’ve brought my young friend,
three years old, to see the lambs.
No, she doesn’t want to touch.
She must feel, I think, the meanness
of straw beds beaded with feces,
of bottles of soy milk that give stones,
though she hasn’t asked about the dead one.
And perhaps she feels, as she stands there,
her face to the blustery air, what
the long cold nights must be like—
the unfathomable snowfall as
lambs burrow into the fat sour warmth
of a mother ewe, who keeps one eye open,
waiting for the dawn.
Alexis Lathem is an environmental journalist, editor, writing instructor, and author of the poetry collection Alphabet of Bones (Wind Ridge, 2015). Her poems have appeared in Hunger Mountain, Chelsea, Spoon River, Saranac Review, Beloit, and other journals. She lives on a small farm in Vermont.
Sam Masler is an educator, artist, and butcher. She is interested in the intersection of arts, social justice, and the environment, with a particular interest in sustainable food systems and food justice. She has an MA in food studies from Chatham University, where she studied urban farms and the communities that surround them.