Jordan Windholz

The Shepherd’s Song

for want of white I slew a lamb
for want of warmth I wore him

for with a blow air cleaves with bleat
for want is the trough loss spills in



the parable of the fox is not a parable of den

the parable of the blackbird is not a parable

the fur’s tuft in the bramble betrays flight

and the pinion in the bush is an archaic pen

further off, a storm hunches, silently

the wind’s teeth fall from its mouth, quietly

in this parable, when the rain falls, the copse is an open hand

when the moon rises, the stars are its argument

in this parable, sight stops after a great distance

under its seeming, the hounds woof through the thicket

inside their baying, the fox is a bloodied pelt in their jaws

then the blackbird is a small letter when it flies

or the flock at the horizon does not reach its east

in this parable, plot is margin

and escape scurries and hides

when we read this parable, a sky littered with periods is all we see

a starved animal slinks into the body and sleeps there

Jordan Windholz lives in Bridgeport, Connecticut, with his partner Erin and their daughter Hazel. His manuscript, Other Psalms, was selected by Averill Curdy for the 2014 Vassar Miller Prize in poetry.

(Read Amy Beeder’s introduction to “The Shepherd’s Song” in out Contributors’ Marginalia blog series)