TOO THIN TO HOLD – Star Coulbrooke


Each late fall the llama takes a fawn

under her loafing shed wing,

usually a sick one

down from the hills

too weak to last the winter.

She gives it a corner

washed in morning sun,

guards it from stray dogs,

eagles, mountain lions.

Her keeper leaves fresh hay bales

round the barn for warmth,

brings oats in a bowl.

The llama, old arthritic,

gets up spryly with six aspirin

plier-crushed, sprinkled on her food.


Bozo the barn cat, paws of a bobcat,

fur cream-colored and long as alpaca

looks out from his bed of cast-off coats

in the loft, belly full of vole.

He surveys the farm for a yellow stray

to take in, snuggle-partner ‘til spring

who’ll wear out its welcome

by eating his song birds and bunnies.

Cats wild and feral retreat before Bozo,

defender of barn squirrels, port in a storm.


The llama watches their backs,

these cats of all kinds, as they slink

up the road to the gravel pit

disturbing wild turkeys who lift

their unwieldy bodies like bombers,

who land in tree branches too thin

to hold them, but they do.

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