Christina Davis

The Trouble with Being Born

No telling them not to come. Or the milk
that gathers in the mothers
one teat at a time and frequently freezes there.
They kick beneath the skin, eyes dark
and freak as fishes sealed agape in winter water.

No telling them not to come. Or the lambs
that thaw beside the ewe: bloody,
stuttering to stand. No telling how the tongue
survives between the teeth. Bulbous,
tendered, to rattle the careful season like a cuss.

The backbone’s quivering rack—
The lamb is bleating in the sharpening barn—