Snowflakes fall on the ewe’s face and back,
pristine against the matted dull-gray tufts
which once were white, just like the snow that
trickles lightly down,
dances impossibly around,
hesitates to touch the ground on which the old ewe stands,
still as death.
What was her life? I wonder,
peering overtop the worn wood-slatted fence.
She must have been left out to pasture, I think now,
in a world where she is—
no longer needed.
Snow settles on the ewe’s long lashes.
Her eyelids flutter and part.
Flakes melt and merge into thick, wet eyes,
which fix on me, like magnets.
And I notice they are gray, no, brown.
Or is that some shade of green?
I look again and see.
They are the mountains of the earth,
where cold springs wind into a web of streams
that lead to each and every river racing toward the ageless oceans.
Behind those dewy eyes waves crash, summoned by the moon,
and reach up toward the sky to join the planets of the universe.
She does not blink against the snow.
She does not fidget at my gaze.
The old ewe stands and watches.
And in that fleeting moment,
so do I.
This piece was inspired by the photography of Isa Leshko, “Elderly Animals” series at http://isaleshko.com/elderly-animals/