Away to me, he said and she would;
come bye, and she flanked left.
She sought and brought home
the scattered fold:
Rambouliets, Montadales, Cheviots,
the flighty hill sheep;
heavy Suffolks, Hampshires, Dorsets
that stand their ground and fight.
Thrifty, harrying but keeping back
balanced between attack and unconcern,
she awaited his low whistle.
Beyond his cue, set out on a gather,
she ghosted through the brush
and haunted the flock he could not see
but for snagged wool, the bleating of lambs.
She scooted, head down, tail down,
grabbed a hock, nipped a nose
until they believed in her
as she believed in him.
Over the brow of the hill the flock flowed,
recollected to him, the pen and its gate.
Only work makes sense and profit.
He saw how he’d taught her
when he found her puppies,
cold, nested in a ditch.
–in The Southern Poetry Review 48:2