Shepherd Story

Today I realized the word Shepherd, is one "e" away from Sheep herd

Which isn’t enough to write a poem about

But it was enough to make me not kill myself today.

Was enough to make my mind wander down the hallways of the English language.

How sear is one "w" away from swear

and how you swore we would always be a part of each other’s lives

And how the memories still burn

How dad is one "e" away from dead

And how I used to wish mine was

How mine used to wish I was

And how to me, he already is

Or perhaps how nose is one "o" away from noose

And how I can still smell the cigarettes on your breath that you can’t live without

How live is one "r" away from liver

And how mine still hasn’t recovered from the nights I drank to forget you

And how I am one letter away from nothing

One word away from endlessness

Or brokenness

Or death

But enough about words or about letters

It will only remind me of the ones I burned

Or the ones I wrote to you

And there are ones I am still writing to the me who will someday be able to breathe again.

But I came here to talk about sheep

Or how they move with the breeze

Like dandelion seeds,

gently riding the flow of time without worry

You see I wish I were a sheep sometimes.

Their soft wooly coats protecting from harm

That way they never have to worry about student loans

Or you.

And they use it like an insult

They call you a sheep when you’re doing what’s right

Or when you’re doing what’s wrong

Or when you are just following the law

But what they mean is the herd

The group mentality,

Just believing what they’ve heard

Like how an "a" is the only difference between the two

Or that what you believe is always right

No matter what it is you believe

And I believe I was a mistake.

And you know the word “individual” has 3 “I’s” in it

But a mistake has one to

And a mistake begins and ends with me

So perhaps that’s what I am.

A mistake or a sheep...

They told me at church

That Jesus is my shepherd

But they never mentioned their intentions.

Their plans to sacrifice my body on an alter

Or use my blood to paint their doorways

So the lord knows exactly who cut me down,

Til the wounds finally win

And I suppose that’s where they get the term scapegoat

Pile your sins on my back

To be held within my wool

Or my soul

Then call me a fag

Then call me an abomination

Or a sinner

Or whatever you need to say to forget the weight of your own wretched guilt.

And then call me saved.

But if I’ve always been a sheep

Then I guess that makes you the wolf

And if you ever feel guilty

For all the pain that you caused me

And all the tears that I cried for you

Then I hope it doesn’t keep you up at night

And if you lie in bed thinking of all the letters I wrote for you

Or all the words we said to one another

And wonder what you could have done to save us

Then try counting sheep

This poem is about: 
My family



This is very eye opening and honestly sad. It is very well written and the words drew me in deeper and deeper, however the suffering a poet has to go through to convey such emotions makes my chest burn. I hear your voice.

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