THE DEATH OF THE ALPACA

Claire Na


for Baby and for John

this morning is slower

than most,

the herd has gone to feed,

humming

the purple dawn awake.

feet tucked and

waiting,

a small Us

stays behind.

the big Us will wash – gather – soak

in the sunlight. yesterday

was a grain day.

neck

curves back around ourselves

like when We were born. none

of Us have died

under this tree yet, He

puts Us in the ground where

we lie, unbirthing

Us. the big Us watches from our

living distance, stamping

at the flies. our fleeces dense – dusty – dry.

the small Us likes

this place for its gentle aspect, no thistles,

we can see the dam from here.

He thinks we choose

our deaths, that we decide them. He’s right.

this morning we will join our

Mother, the rest of the herd in the earth,

in their shady spots

beneath the trees.

we, here, become

the earth. the

grass has the little ones fat

and sure-footed.

after feeding Us for so long we,

eventually, feed the grass.

we: the earth and

the body.

we know what’s coming, the

way we predict our path around

the thistles. the way

we settle, fog-like in the silver gleam

of the night. like cotton fields from

far away. He does not take our

fleece, lets Us be and cease to be

as we are.

we do not say goodbye

but we keep our eyes open, watching

the rest of Us continue living until

we fall asleep.


Claire has too many plants in her bedroom. She keeps buying more. It's becoming a problem.