There Go the Sheep

If only you were here, if only I could hold you, my unwieldy you
Containing everyone I care for, a you made of my feelings
The way a river is made of its teardrops, large lovely teardrops
Forming the eyes that they flow from, forming the heart
Moved from within, by the flowing tears
That fill it, a river's tears
That leave no river here, leaping
Their banks for joy. What lengths you must have gone to
To gather me this loss I feel, this absence
That passes among you the way an orchard
Walks through its olive trees, its diligent painstaking trees
Tending the earth that their own arms
Spring from, trees whose lack of existence is proof
Of the lengths to which they've gone.
And there go the sheep, as sad as I've ever seen them, grazing
The being they're given here as sheep; poor hungry beings
Made to starve their way into Sheepdom, forced to stand
With their heads bowed for the grief
That keeps their heads bowed, while a hunger deep in their bones
Causes this landscape that contains them
To say If those are sheep
I'll eat my words. If you were only here
The rivers would turn to water, the trees could have
Their being back, and I would be more
Than a thin word for me
To stand on like a hilltop. If you were here,
If the here somehow contained you, I would be the man
There to greet you like the land does, in silence,
In plenitude, where the same wave
That says goodbye as you leave it
Means, as you arrive,
Welcome back, welcome back.

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