Issue Nine - May 2005

The Shepherd’s Choice

by Brooks

Halfway between sea
and sheep, in a place
of solace, he considers
the cost of choice. How
choosing might leave
an emptiness so gaping
the rest of him leaks out.
His face stiffens
with sea-blown salt.
His head fills with smells
of brine and lanolin.
He listens as returning
waves and bleating sheep
harmonize into the sounds
that have always been
his world - sea and sheep,
each wanting this man
to be their own.
The sheep implore him,
almost pitifully,
to stay and be their leader,
to belong to this place,
and honor the unspoken
ancestral promise
to protect them
on land long
shared by their kin.
The sea calls,
deep and soulful,
telling him of tides,
unfathomable depths
and endless shores.
Offering him all that is
beyond this grassy bluff.

©2005 Brooks