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The shepherd’s wife

Rosemary Anderson


I do not like the way you look at the moon.

It reminds me of how late one night you compared

my skin to hers. Intended as a compliment I’m sure,

but as your gaze shifted between us I could see

your eyes discerning and knew that I came up

as the one less favoured.


I do not like the way her lighting marks you.

When I last risked the blinds, beams cut

between the slats and raked your face like prison bars.

You said that night you dreamed the moon held you in her arms.

I dreamed you were drowning

in a bloody tide.


I do not like the way her phasing fades you.

Since her last quarter, you’re drowsy all the time

and have been forgetting things like how to eat and bathe.

As I wipe this cloth across your brow, I’m certain it is she

who put you in this state; she who could not bear

to share you with the world.


And if she cannot share, then would she wash you?

Perhaps she fears blemishing her milky fingers –

whereas I would leave you to it, abandon you to Hypnos,

for I cannot bear to see you set so slowly.

But even in the daytime I know she watches; a shadow

of my shadow, as I am a reflection of her glare, yet I can’t deflect her –

it is as I have long feared:

we are both moonstruck.


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