Size / / /

We weren't expecting shepherds,
and nearly tripped over them, since
we were looking at the sky. There haven't
been sheep here for a dog's age, but shepherds
have never required sheep
to guard, just wolves
to guard them from.

A bitter night, on which the stars
could pierce like elfshot, burning cold,
and John pointed and said to me,
"There's Vega," and was corrected
by a shepherd, who, after all, would know.
Shepherds were experts on the stars
before astronomy had a name.

I said as much, and the shepherd's face
yawned into a grin. She said, "Would you like
to hear the wolves?" And I said yes, of course, because
how often do you get to stand
with a pack of shepherds on a starry hill
and have them call to wolves for you?

The first shepherd howled, the others
joined in, and from over the dark line
I thought must be a ridge came a chorus
in reply, and all the hair
on my body stood on end
at two harmonies exactly the same.

Shepherds grinned, tongues lolling, teeth flashing,
eyes glinting green, and we swallowed
hard and thanked them hastily,
and hurried home, careful not to stray
from the path for fear of wolves
or shepherds in the night.


Copyright © ccc

Reader Comments

Tracina Jackson-Adams lives in the Snow Belt and actually likes it, in a masochistic kind of way. Her poetry also appears in The Magazine of Speculative Poetry, Star*Line, and The Modern Art Cave. She has also had fiction published in Strange Horizons.

Current Issue
6 Feb 2023

Beatriz Nogueira is fifteen years old when her life ends.
how humble it becomes after beliefs on it / burn up
Your quivering, alien shift from human to halfling to not-quite,   a carrion flower never in bloom, but burst.
Friday: Mundanity by Jonathan Carreau 
Issue 30 Jan 2023
By: Catherine Rockwood
By: Romie Stott
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Catherine Rockwood
Podcast read by: Romie Stott
Podcast read by: Maureen Kincaid Speller
Issue 23 Jan 2023
Issue 16 Jan 2023
Issue 9 Jan 2023
Strange Horizons
2 Jan 2023
Welcome, fellow walkers of the jianghu.
Issue 2 Jan 2023
Strange Horizons
Issue 19 Dec 2022
Issue 12 Dec 2022
Issue 5 Dec 2022
Issue 28 Nov 2022
By: RiverFlow
Translated by: Emily Jin
Load More
%d bloggers like this: