RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – Apr 25

Poem of the Week 4/25/2017

Nasreen Khan

Dumb Ewe

She had been struggling for two days.
Father stumbled home from
a bender and
found her with a dead
lamb’s head sticking out of her,
its tongue lolling, purple and swollen:
Jesus Christ, you dumb ewe!
I can’t watch this anymore.

Holding still, very still in the
shadows of an empty goat stall,
I sucked my teeth, fiddling
with the loose one in the front

while he went to fetch the
shotgun on its rack
above our front door.


he stroked her dead nose,
You poor dumb ewe
dumb ewe, poor dumb

She’d been the oldest sheep
of his flock—
a good birther with two live
lambs every year. She nuzzled his pockets
for sugar lumps and came to his voice.
She had given him more
than even a wife.
He sold her children
or ate them, he stole their milk
he was her master, father, husband, shepherd.
He said when she would be bred, which ram would
cover her, when she would eat, when she would be shorn
and now
when she would die.

In the empty goat stall,
I pushed my tongue hard
against that tooth and tore
it out of the bloody gum.

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