New to the world, our farm,
is this darling—
gilded with placenta, gluey curls
Shelley for its breathlessness, the hazel eyes
that blithely surmise the earth.
Little solemn forehead,
Sore body licked raw, cut loose
from love’s bonds, from the ordinary
ewe who is terrified
of loving what is doomed.
Put away the nipple’s fleshy nub.
Let the formula on the stove boil away.
A painting of a lamb on a dark altar—
that’s what you are.
Puny creature, beginning to tremble
although it is April and warm.
Paula Bohince is the author of three collections: Swallows and Waves (Sarabande Books, 2016), The Children (Sarabande, 2012), and Incident at the Edge of Bayonet Woods (Sarabande, 2008). Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, AGNI,The Best American Poetry, and elsewhere. She has been a Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholar. She lives in Pennsylvania. (updated 9/2019)
Her AGNI poem “The Fly” was chosen for The Best New Poets 2005. Paula briefly served as poetry editor of AGNI in fall 2019.