by Sara McAulay
Looks just like sheep—
Children, blowing leaves and gleaming long-haul rigs.
A tennis ball is good. My teeth sink deep
Into the fuzzy cover. Crouch-belly, skulk and creep
Along the fence, among the weeds—to herding dogs,
Everything that moves looks like a sheep.
At midnight, curled in my kennel fast asleep
I dream of bleating squirrels and woolly pigs.
A tennis ball is good. My teeth sink deep,
But tricked by slumber seize on nothing, not a squeak.
I wake. Discouraged? My zeal never flags!
Everything that moves looks just like sheep.
If only I could channel Miss Bo-Peep,
Find where she lost those cottonpuffs-on-legs—
Meanwhile a ball is good. My teeth sink deep
In time, dig back ten thousand years at least,
To when I killed to eat, wore neither leash nor tags.
Still, everything that moves looks like a sheep.
A tennis ball is good. My teeth sink deep.
—for Moxie, 2005-2020
Sara McAulay is a novelist and short fiction writer (Black Warrior Review, California Quarterly, The Literary Review, Third Coast, ZYZZYVA, among others). She has received NEA and NJ State Council on the Arts fellowships for her prose, and has recently turned to poetry and flash, with work published or forthcoming from Bending Genres, Hole in the Head Review, Pine Row Press, Rise Up Review, Synkroniciti and others. She lives in Oakland, CA with the world's smartest and most beautiful Australian Shepherd dog.