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Runcible Spoon

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                                                             Lambing Time

 

 

She doesn’t say much, she chews the string on that pink hoodie, never lets up, hitches her trousers, vaults the gate, bullies and barges ewes off their lambs like they’re feckless, hungover, this isn’t cute, think about dinner, the weather’s freezing, sluggish lambs shiver,  jammed under mothers, never lets up, hitches her trousers.  

 

She doesn’t say much, she chews the string on that pink hoodie, scans like a survivor, drags up the still ones, see them lying in a bed of straw, postpones the knife, death or life, the weak ones are struggling, think about dinner, the weather’s freezing, checks airway and breathing, it’s standing shivering, but this one’s not feeding, manhandling the ewe into position, she squirts the milk, testing, testing, mouth to the udder, still not feeding.  

 

She doesn’t say much, she chews the string on that pink hoodie, wrestles the ewe, right arm headlock, lamb with the other, mouth to the udder, it’s shivering but not feeding, mouth to the udder, come on you fucker, feed-fuckin-feed-fuckin-feed-fuckin-feed, that’s four times now, the weather’s freezing, she’s fighting the mother, tries another angle.  

 

She doesn’t say much, she chews the string on that pink hoodie, that’s five times now and still not feeding she’s muttering muttering feed-fuckin-feed this isn’t cute the weather’s freezing, it’s four hours old, like she’s the mother, sets the ewe down, tries another angle, still not feeding, it’s fucking freezing, it stands and shivers, milk in its mouth, puts mouth to the udder, the ewe just sits there like a Channel 5 mother.  

 

She doesn’t say much, she chews the string on that pink hoodie, you can do so much, they’ll succumb or survive or drive into a wall for a birthday dare bloody old business, the visitors stare, think about dinner, puts mouth to the udder, only so much time and so many others, lifts them on their feet with her welly toe, hard-faced clouds threaten snow.  

 

She doesn’t say much, she chews the string on that pink hoodie, walks away, whispering tender curses, hitches her trousers, vaults the gate and her dead weight drops softly into the adjoining pen.