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For fifty winters

Minnie rubbed the ewes’ hard

undersides while afterbirth

splattered her chaps and lambing boots.


In spring she docked the yearlings in,

pinned ears or branded rumps

with the farm’s tattoo yelling “git”

when mothering sheep circled the fence.


Twice each summer week

she hauled up sugar, coffee, chew

to the Basques whose collies

yipped, tucked tails, and hid


behind the sheepcamp wheels. Through fall

she helped the hired hands shear sheep,

dip sheep, and mend the sheepcote’s

splintering tines and slats.


When Sam retired she said

“now there’s an end to sheep,”

purling the warp and weft

in sweaters and scarves her family keeps.

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