Sheep Corral


To the dusty, hungry Navajo child,
A/C and a phone is all one needs
To manage a world where stray-dogs run wild.
Meanwhile, the sheep, the goats that no one feeds
Pant and sweat beads of windmill water out.
Heads seek shade under plastic bags home-made.
Between his knees, the soda sweats thrice.
Listen - hear the house sigh - it’s a crusade!

As the vents hold their pampering breaths of ice,
The phone’s unseen chains lays down its life.
Battalions of boredom and heat greet
The boy and follow him on his retreat
But die when a surly glare unforeseen
Herds the boy back through his gate for a canteen.
Trembling, he gathers courage for a redoubt
But sees the sun has laid a ceaseless siege.

Just as a prisoner who’s forgotten
The taste of freedom suspects a free world,
The boy delays his pardon from his pen.
He doesn’t have horns, nor is his hair curled,
But he can follow, his heart is hollow.
There he sits with a charger and his fan
Waiting to be brought some grass to swallow.
— A lamb with the face, but hardly a trace of man.

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This Poems Story

Pretty soon, staying still and never sweating becomes a burden. Few ever notice. It used to be common for one to see a fellow Navajo child herding sheep. I guess long-held identities can change fairly easily and quietly.