At the Butcher’s

Patrick Cotter

The sheep’s severed head seems merely disembodied;
floating, not hanging from a hook; eyes creamy and dozing
in a sheen of deep thought, as if she remembers the pastures,

the smell of shook clover, hedges to be jumped over,
the raptures of mad rams later dismembered. A stumped
man following his wife to the butcher’s shop stares

into the sheep’s lifeless eyes, his moist nose inches
from her muzzle; his puzzlement in gazing
not as if he would eat but befriend; as if social censure

is all that stops him from rending the sheep a kiss, stroking
her brow, missing an appreciative bahful greet lopped
from the bodiless being. He turns in time to shirk his wife

who pays for lamb chops and piquant kidneys
with token pounds and broken smirks.