Released from their pens, the sheep
flow out like plasma and platelets
they pulse through valves of gates
into the veins of pathways, pooling
out past the path to pasture.
Each turn is a method of staying
together. Their white wool blurs
the lines around the individual
and makes it one whole liquid
body pushed by one heart. And think
of the starling murmurations
in autumn, how they swarm
and flow keeping each other warm
and whole. The one bird out-
numbered by the flock that eclipses it,
separates, snaps, undulates like the elastic
of kneaded bread dough. Swallowed
into the crowd which becomes
a made thing itself. Hypnotizing.
Enough to make a person forget
they’re breathing air and not water—
to remember salmon swimming up
river, whose reproductive
instinct is powerful enough
to scale waterfalls, only to die
after spawning in the place where
they were born; to think of the pads
of thumbs bumping over knots
in your trapezius, not just the way
it feels to you, but how the masseuse
must navigate the landscape
of musculature by touch, sliding over
a membrane of oil; to think how
the current returns with the tides
in a brackish estuary. How the fist
of your heart opens, constricts—conjures
the glide and lift of a goldfinch in flight.