Owen Sheers
Late Spring
It made me feel like a man
when I helped my grandfather
castrate the early lambs

picking the hard orange O-rings
from the plastic bag
and stretching them across the made-to-purpose tool,

heavy and steel-hard in the sun,
while he turned one between his legs
to play it like a cello.

Spreading the pink unwooled skin at their groins
he'd coax them up into the sack,
one-handed, like a man milking,

two soaped beans into a delicate purse
while gesturing with his other
for the tool, a pliers in reverse,

Which I'd pass to him then stand and stare
as he let his clenched fist open
to crown them.

We did the tails too while we were there
so when I walked the field weeks later,
both could be counted;
the tails scattered like catkins among
the windfall of our morning's work -
a strange harvest of the seeds we'd sown.