Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

Ode to the Sheep

Ode to the Sheep

By Mildred K. Barya

Sheep, I want to say
For your sake
You'll make me beautiful
But that's not true
Rather for my conscience
The meat is great
But that's not what
this is about. We kill
for texture—
to feel the other
beneath our feet
I watch my father
ramming fists into you
membrane tearing,
pushing against skin
til you're bare
a glossy redness
you're the son sacrificed
for a daughter. I want
to say thank you
but your blood
collecting into the pan
stops me. I'll be sixteen
Is what I whisper
As I close your eyes
You're in me
I'm in you
The party begins
The talk of my shoes
Gives you back life.


Mildred Kiconco Barya

Mildred Kiconco Barya, a Ugandan doctorate fellow at the University of Denver, holds a masters degree in Creative Writing from Syracuse University and a masters degree in organizational psychology from Makerere University. She is the author of three award-winning poetry collections, Give Me Room to Move My Feet, The Price of Memory after the Tsunami, and Men love Chocolates But They Don't Say. Mildred serves on the board of African Writers Trust and is devoted to social change through creative works.

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