back  in  the  day

when the shepherds who 
tended their flocks 
by night 
took that night off whence

to visit My Newborn Son 
and me, I was put in

the mind of how they hand 

-led their birthing 
process, especially when

a newborn lamb who 
just dropped just died.

to comfort 
the bereaved & grieving 
they’d strip the

dead lamb’s skin 
to make 
a vellum shirt for 
some other lamb, a 
twin or a triplet 
to wear

to replace 
the dead one for the

childless mom

to nuzzle 
in place of her 
dear departed one.

in a perfect world 
the mother’d accept the 
substitute offspring.

but My Son and I 
lived in an

imperfect one