The Necessity

It isn't true about the lambs.
They are not meek.
They are curious and wild,
full of the passion of spring.
They are lovable,
they are not silent when hungry.

Tonight the last of the triplet lambs
is piercing the quiet with its need.
Its siblings are stronger
and will not let it eat.

I am its keeper, the farmer, its mother,
I will go down to it in the dark,
in the cold barn,
and hold it in my arms.

but it will not lie still—it is not meek.

I will stand in the open doorway
under the weight of watching trees and moon,
and care for it as one of my own.

But it will not love me—it is not meek.

Drink, little one. Take what I can give you.
Tonight the whole world prowls
the perimeters of your life.

Your anger keeps you alive—
it's your only chance.
So I know what I must do
after I have fed you.
I will shape my mouth to the shape
of the sharpest words,
even those bred in silence.

I will inhale with words every ear
pressed upon open air.
I will not be meek.

You remind me of the necessity
of having more hope than fear,
and of sounding out terrible names.

I am to cry out loud
like a hungry lamb, cry loud
enough to waken wolves in the night.

No one can be allowed to sleep.

Alice B Fogel, "The Necessity" from I Love This Dark World. Copyright © 1996 by Alice B Fogel. Reprinted by permission of Alice B Fogel.
Source: I Love This Dark World (Zoland Books, Inc., 1996)
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