You Said the Lambs Were Ready


Aim behind the ear. Point blank is a mercy.
If this were sacred, we’d let it run freely as it dies.

But we are part-time believers and tie the legs. I fold
your recipe for mint jelly into the crane’s blue paper.

A group of geese is only a gaggle on the ground.
In flight, they become a skein. A lamb is a lamb

is innocence turning into meat. But this was always
your DIY Heaven, twenty acres of making a go of it.

A group of cranes is a siege or a mobile for a nursery.
Circular flight without ambition or stratosphere.

We hang the body from the swing set and set out
a bucket for blood. You ask me to get on my knees

with such tenderness. To adore what is above you, sublime.
To adore what’s beneath you, we forego the soft core

pleasures of narrative. I swear I prayed to feel only good
desires, but the “I” in every new poem is Judas or Eve.

I used to leave love notes under your windshield that said
A group of solitudes is a family. Now you ask me to leave

addresses so you’ll know where to start looking. Absence
as evidence, as timeline. I want to believe my heart is better

than its choices. I rub the lamb’s ear between thumb
and finger before I pinch it and whisper, Do it, fool. Run.

Traci Brimhall is a poet living in Manhattan, Kansas, where she teaches creative writing at Kansas State University.

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