A road sign misunderstood for an instant
and a vision of a vast acreage
flocked with the departed, a ghost-herd glimmering
in the juniper night.
The massless mass transluces through slot canyons,
passing over sandy arroyos without a trace.
Spooked, the dead hem and stamp, rush this way and that,
always together, turned back sometimes
at the bare-tooth snarl of a sheep dog
or smoke from burning sage.
In life, they were us, and are now little different,
herd mentality and hunger still
urging them ever onward. Shadowy ranch hands
lead them on toward fresh pasture
and in the spring they’ll be taken north and shorn
of their silvering curls.
MATTHEW LANDRUM is the author of Berlin Poems (A Midsummer Night’s Press) and translator of the forthcoming collection Are there Copper Pipes in Heaven, poems from the Faroese of Katrin Ottarsdóttir (The Operating System). He lives in Detroit where he teaches at a private high school for students on the autism spectrum.