Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2012 v11n1
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The Lambs Wool Strap Speaks from the Gurney, 1915

I cannot guarantee no skin ripped from this woman’s wrist no
blood it must be blood which stains me I try to be soft soft as I can
remember. Being lambs wool having once been a lamb I remember
twilight laid out across the valley and all of us on the hill in its phosphor-
escence lit up each kink of wool a filament of electricity flickering. And
I remember it was quiet just the buzzing in our coats the hum of static
before darkness just the grass crackling from the weight of our knees
kneeling into sleep. But this, this wailing my god how she wails this is
neither twilight nor sleep. The nurses with their neat white hats sail-
boats circling the whale of her belly she doesn’t see them though she tries
to spit at them I take the feeble moist smack. I remember birth on the hill
the slick thing slipping out kicking out of its dark sac the mother standing
the lamb already standing no one came and took it away it buried its muzzle
at her belly. But here it was days wasn’t it a day before I hung loose cooling
in the air free of wrenching wrist before she rose from the pillow looked
around before the thing was brought into the room its hands flailing they
laid it in her lap she said Is it mine? she touched its face I remember it happened.    

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