Only a sheep goes
up any time

to find help or comfort
                            up it goes

through huckleberry
so thick you can’t crawl through

on all fours
Sheep become human

at night
fart and cough

it sounds like
some homeless shelter

a bad dream
you would think sheep pure

but they are paint-sprayed
to show whose they are

and Ray comes after them
pulls off tails and testicles

to make them fall

each ball is worth a dollar

such are the ways
of ancient hill climbers
Image credit:Atli Harðarson

Allan Johnston's poetry has appeared in Poetry, Poetry East, Rattle, Rhino, Weber Studies, and more than forty other journals. He has received a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, Pushcart Prize nominations, and first prize in poetry in the 2010 Outrider Press Literary Anthology contest. He has published two books of poetry, Tasks of Survival, which appeared in 1996, and In a Window, published in 2018. He also has three chapbooks, Northport (2010), Departures (2013), and Contingencies (2015), all from Finishing Line Press. He teaches writing and literature at Columbia College and at DePaul University, both in Chicago.