On our friends’ sheep farm, you pull the half-birthed
sac from a petrified ewe, jostling the slippery form and begging C’mon little one, wake up, c’mon, c’mon. It lies
motionless, blue, in a mess of blood and amniotic membrane
and there is an impossible stretch of abject moment
during which we acknowledge the newborn is dead. As you
cease your coaxing and compressions,
it splutters, breathes, bleats to the mother
who calls back, and the lamb lives.
When a pasture is left
alone—not required to grow anything—it is said
to be healing. I walk from the delivery scene, through
the field and pass its rusted gates, sensing every blade
of spring grass bend to accommodate my exit,
the wind stopping itself in my hair, and all of life
suddenly feels one temperature.
At home, you
and I reach for each other in defiant, incredulous joy, and the same
word whispers itself over me again and again. Content: signifying both
that which fills and its sufficiency. Oh, quiet
mystery. Yesterday I withdrew the metal rod
from a years-old piercing in my skin and today
I can’t tell that there was ever a hole.
A poet and editor, Linnea Nelson received her MFA from Oregon State University; she is now a doctoral candidate at the University of North Dakota. Her poems have appeared in Spoon River Poetry Review, Rattle, LIT, Beloit Poetry Journal, The Rupture, Seneca Review, The Journal, South Dakota Review, and elsewhere. If you’d like to read more of Linnea’s work, please visit linneanelson.com.
Header photo by visualisworld, courtesy Shutterstock. Photo of Linnea Nelson by Lucy Nelson.