Right after I was born my Father and Mother
adopted a pet black lamb
and brought it up the rickety stairs
to their second story apartment
so they told me
and it played with me through my toddling
until it got bigger and butted everything
and broke a lamp and butted me
which is why
so they told me
they sent it to a farm
for shearing and death.

They never told me that my Father
was the black sheep of our family,
tupped my Mother,
sheared her heart,
did that to his next wife
and his next wife.

I found out about his betrayal,
decided to be the white sheep,
be faithful to my wife,
not bring a strange pet
into our marriage
so I didn’t have to
hide anything
from my children,
butt them
in their hearts.

Originally published in Former People