M. L. Brown

Donkeys and Sheep, Peter Moran, ca. 1880-1890, etching on paper


Mother sheep sometimes get jittery, their lambs
fallen from within—wet newborns

with hooves that demand purchase,
dense heads that butt swollen udders.

Sometimes the ewe doesn’t know what to do,
blue and butting her own head against the stall.

Who would not want to let her out—
to green into summer, wool into winter.

                                    I am a girl outside
my mother’s bedroom door before school,

every day checking the rise and fall
of her chest, her eyes always closed to me.

Now, in my own home, never
a cradle, never a crib, no one

to watch from the door.

M. L. Brown is the author of Call It Mist, winner of the 2018 Three Mile Harbor Press Book Prize, and Drought, winner of the Claudia Emerson Chapbook award. Her work has appeared in Valparaiso Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, and Cave Wall, among other journals and anthologies. When not writing, she devotes her time to raising funds for a nonprofit health care organization. More at Emelbrown.com

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Fall 2021