Friday, February 11, 2011

The Village (II)

by E. Wong Martin

And just like that, without any need
for laborious introductions, the hands
of time shake the hands—or what
could be considered hands—of the village’s
two escaped livestock, both beauteous
and precious—goats, or are they sheep?
They are too gorgeous to be called goats,
and their sheepish smiles are so lovely
you will not need to drink milk
in the morning. But now, only one
of them relishes this nocturnal
freedom, as if the other is just waiting
for a scapegoat in the farm. One eats
grass, while the other just sniffs it.

The happy sheep quips: I could eat
this grass forever! But the other sheep—
not happy, but not sad either—
does not recognise the words,
despite being the smartest sheep
in the village. The happy sheep,
despite not being the smartest,
is not stupid either. So he stops
chewing and lays himself beside
the other. The sky is too starry

for them to worry about snoring,
but the happy one knows this much:
when dawn breaks, the lamb
of some god will take away
the sins of the village, and only one
of them furry fugitives will be
pardoned. So while the night
is young and their flesh warm,
the happy sheep gets up slowly,
stares at his partner in crime,
and before running off, he licks
the other’s cheek and says:
this is the taste of sweet grass.

Artwork: "Two Sheep Under a Mountain" (1988, Thorfinnur Sigurgeirsson)
Read also: "The Village"

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