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January 2014, vol 9, no 4

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Violette Rose-Jones

Fatten Thy Skin Stranger

in an empty pen
a whisp of wool lingers
evening dust motes

toughen up! he throws a bag of feed at me winding me nearly bowling me over pollard dust exploding from the bag on contact a dusty wheat germ smelling cloud of farm hands circles us…

old spider webs
barely catching me
last rays of light

we don't call it a barn here; it’s a shed…I stagger under the weight of the feed bag managing to stack it with the growing pile there is no hay here which puzzles me but lots of old broken tools traces of dung a whiff of lanolin he throws me another bag I land under its crushing weight all the farm hand laugh my face burning.

a scratched up lamb
struggles in the brambles
visible-breath weather

up yah come girly! he lifts the sack off me then offers me a sandpaper hand pulling me to standing with one oily movement I wipe the back of my jeans off to find an ancient sheep pellet sticking to my palm he puts his hand on my shoulder, look love you are just too skinny to do this job. head over to the other shed. Mick'll teach you how to feed the lambs...