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Luke Kennard


The Lamb 


The lamb has learned a lot about itself 

but it has the voice and mannerisms of a toddler –  

I learn a lot bout me! cheese and crackers  

cheese and crackers! – and thus must it articulate  


the sacking of villages, the leading of a cult, 

reform of higher education, managing a string 

of michelin starred restaurants, inadvisable 

affairs, sotto voce in the corridors of power… 


Nonetheless it is hard to sympathise: 

Yes you are losing your mind but you are  

losing your mind while being 

fitted for a bespoke suit in the drawing room 


of the well-appointed house you inherited  

outright; this is what the rich mean when they say 

wah! wah! we’re so rich and everyone hates us! 

And the poor say you shouldn’t have educated us, then. 


For it was better when we respected you. 

Hear another parable: A rich novelist and a poor novelist  

Both tried to write the same novel, it was a long novel, 

It was called The Beautiful Sound of a Waterfall 


and the epigraph was “The rich He hath sent empty away” 

from the Gospel According to Luke, 

and the novels got published and shortlisted 

for the same award, and it was the last year 


this particular award ran because the corporate sponsor 

withdrew its funding (this was the lamb’s doing,  

and it was marvellous to him). Now the lamb is destitute  

and just flat broke – I am so committed to this institution! – 


but that comes later. A trickle of interviews and to-camera 

reflections which the rich novelist and the poor novelist 

were required to shoot themselves on their mobile phones, 

all the while – and had you whiskers you would feel it –  


all the while nursing a little pearl of resentment, 

a little pearl of indignation which had formed 

so gradually it was hard to be sure of its origin, 

but it was in the obligation, it was in the email: 


I can imagine the sound of hooves so clearly, 

but it is possible that my source is a movie; 

that I am also imagining the sound of tape hiss 

and editing it out. But it wasn’t until the night 


of the announcement in a very flat room with 

canapes served on separate spoons because 

whatever you like betrays you, and I was there 

and we were all saying, please, please authenticate me, 


please grab me by the lanyard and drag me around 

like a dog if only to create the illusion that someone 

knows what’s best for us, please be my despairing mother, 

(we’d started smoking again because we thought 


we wanted to die, in the moonlight on a ground floor balcony). 

The rich novelist and the poor novelist were very nervous, 

very out of sorts, not their usual selves at all, 

and while not enough has been done to distinguish them, 


and I’d be the first to take ownership of that,  

they were very nervous in very different ways. 

What is God’s favourite circus act? What does that key open? 

So what’s next? they asked the winner, later. Being 


so misunderstood you’re understood? 

A drum solo, I think, and something to change 

how the body detects and responds to pain. When the lamb 

looks in the mirror he sees a waterfall  


but he is looking in a waterfall. Silly, misrepresented 

lamb, so played out, so choked up, such a constant 

over-calibrated state of alert; you must learn, sometimes,  

how to fold yourself back in. But to what end?  


says the lamb. And for whom? Given that none are worthy 

of my weaponised respect. Ah, we will say then, ah, 

we must stop giving the lamb these opportunities, ah, 

now the lamb is starting to perceive. 

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