THE BOY WHO CRIED WOLF
The longer a person watches sheep
the closer they are to becoming one.
Can we really blame the boy for his boredom,
for crying wolf? He’s not looking to hurt anyone.
He’s looking for the thrill of being believed.
There’s power in an entire village
rushing to your aid because you shouted wolf.
The townsfolk believed me too,
But there was no reason for the pain.
Two ultrasounds came back clear.
After a while complaints of pain
without cause for pain
draw ire instead of sympathy.
How dare you ask them to believe
in something that cannot be seen—
Only God can get away with that.
When at last the boy tells the truth
no one comes running to fend off the wolf.
I never lied, not even once.
Does it matter now?
In the end he & I are both surrounded by the bodies of sheep.
Look at this lamb split open down the belly,
everything inside her spilling out
over the ruined ground.
She died the way my childhood died:
when she knew no one would come to help.
By Maggie Damken
Maggie Damken is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College whose writing has previously appeared in Strange Horizons, Kaaterskill Basin Literary Journal, Ghost Proposal, and the Sarah Lawrence Review. She thanks you for taking the time to read her work