The Sheep Return
Abilio is back with his busy goats and sheep.
He grazes them in different pastures, twice as many
this year on hills around our homes.
He allows still-green grasses for the ewes and lambs,
the coarser brown for goats.
He saunters out early mornings.
His sheepdog runs and stops on command,
insisting that the hundreds of sheep run fast,
even on top of each other, to get to the next pasture.
How vigorous their chewing, as they land in
fresh oats and greener clumps of May grass.
Male goats, all different sizes
jump up, butt antlers, like cymbals,
bodies high into the air.
A llama stands among the others, as if ready
for his portrait in grass browner
this year. He resembles Beethoven’s
silhouette, his tall hat.
The night air is full of animal sounds,
mornings flush with excited animals
running up and down the hills.
This year our shepherd brings chickens and eggs,
sells them to hikers and curious neighbors
who walk by in early mornings to get closer.
Within a week we are safer from fire,
full of all-day animal melodies,
sheep packed onto trucks for their next meal,
another farm, another edge
of a small town in dry California.