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Published: Fri Jul 1 2005
Salman Toor, Fag Puddle with Candle, Shoe, and Flag (detail), 2022. Courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, N.Y. Photo: Farzad Owrang.

I rode to Blood Farm with my mum to gather the lambs. We held them in our arms, the size of rocks, heavy as oblongs. When I asked how they killed the animals, she told me they shot them once, with a gun. But these shots were only imagined, as no one in my family could say they saw one of our lambs shot. She explained the cycle of life and dependence. Outside, I studied Gabriel, our ram, who mounted ewes in diagonal, like a frequented bookcase. Mum collected me in winter for the birthing of twin lambs, though commotion dissuaded the second lamb from standing. So, near the piano Mum lifted the weight of the metronome and unfolded: But for the Lamb of Jesus. I dissented with whole notes in alto until she harmonized soprano to teach a duet. How I marveled at the red and blue balls, the silken sac: the placenta distending winter on the rail of a standing stall.

Maria Claire Leng has worked as an engineer and a poet. She received the Jane Kenyon scholarship for poetry from Bennington College, where she earned an MFA in Writing and Literature. Her poems have appeared in AGNI Online and Grand Street. Leng has also published Companion Poems with poet David Lehman online in The Cortland Review. (updated 8/2012)

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