In these Mennonite hills in Central Pennsylvania,
13 or more fat sheep drift across the ridge, slower
than the looming darkness. A trail of barking dogs turns
them into a solid mass by circling round and round,
then spinning it like a pedal-pumped wheel, so that sheep
clump singly off. Hurled in drowsy slowness, upended,
flapping their whittled legs, they slide like bashful children,
unyielding to the board, through the gate into the pen—
there is no farmer in sight, no son to inspect.
They often confess (those prodigals who rushed off, lured
into the world, defeated by it, and warily, to return)
that sometimes the Way to the Kingdom doesn’t so much
open up in front of you, as close in right behind.