baa, Vol. 3 No. 18 June 16, 2007
- The day opened slowly like a sleepy eye. In the dim green dawn nothing
distinct was visible in the field before the doorway of the weathered red
shed where I stood. But what I couldn't see, I heard. "Maa," a baby
called. The first lamb of the year. Directly behind the calling, the dull
orange sun began to rise and bronze the haze. As all fire does, it beckoned
to me, "Come on-a my house, my house a come-on, I'm gonna give you
everything." I stepped from the doorway to quiet Poem barking in her kennel
and saw that the sun had cast my shadow on the shed siding in green.
Hiroshima, mon amour. One was two and I was alone and the wind blew.
Remember, "I like Ike," Technicolor, Rosemary Clooney and because we hated
the 50's came the 60's. These moments beg for someone to be there with you,
someone who knows what you know, who says nothing. The calling stops.
I walk toward the sun, a jowly Nixon toward China, toward the lamb, hoping
to find mother. As I get closer, I see the dark brooding ewes dozing
against the flaming penumbras of backlit grass; when they hear my boots
splashing through a wet spot they look up. A hundred eyes are upon me, all
eyes but two, the eyes of the sleeping lamb. Mother calmly walks over to
nose her lamb awake and looks up into the lens of my Nikon, it's shutter
chattering like an AK, but making love not war.
But I sing for a living, "That's a beautiful man you got, mama.I ain't gonna
hurt your man, mama." I always sing the same song; it's dumb but we like it.
I sling my camera over my shoulder; step closer and pick up the lamb. I was
Herod and I had come to steal her baby, mother was sure and began to ball.
The lamb's belly was warm and full, "You got good milk, mama," the
umbilical cord was cold and still wet as I turned the lamb up to dip the
navel in iodine and determine the sex, "You got a little girl, mama."
Unconcerned with my observation, the ewe circles us like Sioux around
I place the lamb between my ankles to hold it as I put a yellow plastic
eartag in the eartag pliers; noting the number, I bend down and pierce it
through the lamb's right ear. "Well little 499, you a pretty girl," all the
while keeping an eye on the ewe, "You got yourself a pretty man, mama," who
gets close enough for me to read her eartag number: 2124. I let the lamb
go, take out my Blackberry and with iodined thumbs compose an email, "2124 >
499 ewe" then send it to myself to record later on my desktop in Excel. The
drama of dawn is done, the sun is bright and boring and I'm hungry. I
collect my things and walk back to the shed but the lamb follows me, "You
can't come to town, little 499," I turn her around and point her at stunned
mother, but she stumbles back after me, "The girls at the diner would love
you 499, but you can't leave mama," I turn her around again, duck quickly
behind the an ash tree and press myself up against the thick trunk. Here I
am again, hiding out from love.
wyatt@... The land of Goshen & the Union Square
Greenmarket on Saturday
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