Black Sheep by Mab Jones

I was a white sheep once, but sullied.
Hard to say now, with my soot-black back
If I was ever really clean. Black sheep
Of a flock who never really stopped to ask
Why I rarely, if ever, baa-baa’d.

Now, happiness has gathered them
In at their pen: a contentment hooked
On a crook’s lies, and set in a bed of
Biting tics. I watch from the edge of a field,
Unable to run, or bleat.

My dark wool thick with fear, shame;
The pain of a lullaby childhood ripped away.
Are you all getting along these days?
Has the past been tethered to its post
And forgotten?

Memories come like animal mouths to pinch me
Awake. Blood once again seeps to soil my thighs.
A raincloud heavy as a body is pressing the sky,
Thickening like a blanket, getting ready
To release its load.

Mab Jones is “a unique talent” (The Times) whose satirical, saucy, postmodern verse has disgraced stages all over the UK, in the US, France, Ireland, and Japan, on BBC Radio 4, at the Edinburgh Festival supporting television’s Phill Jupitus, and much more. She is also Resident Poet in the National Botanic Garden of Wales, an organiser of the event Heartspoken, and co-editor of online literary journal Black Sheep. Her first book, Poor Queen, was published by Burning Eye Books last year.

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