My name is Orn, son of Dorn,
a shepherd living at the base of Mount Moriah.
Our sheep are famous for their strength and beauty,
sired as they have been by our noble ram.
We call him Dancer-on-the-Mountain,
for many mornings I have found
that he has somehow jumped the fence,
and I must trudge up to the heights,
to find him grazing quietly,
but with a twinkle in his eye.
A few times I found him not at ease,
in fact wide-eyed and shivering,
snared in the tendrils of the grabber bush,
and I have released him
and he has followed me docilely down.
Last year, one morning he was again missing,
and I trudged up the mountain
but couldn't find him on the heights.
I saw the cut tendrils of a grabber bush,
and also a rock altar, newly built and still smoking,
but there was no one around,
neither man nor beast.
Still I feared the worst.
When I returned to our camp,
to my disbelief I found him there in the corral,
eating quietly among the other sheep.
But from that day on,
he seemed not so frisky as before.
He rarely jumped the fence again,
and he never went up on the mountain.
And there was always this smoky smell about him
that never washed out.
Last month we journeyed south in search
of better pasture for our flock.
We stopped one day near a great encampment
whose headman we were told worshipped
a strange and solitary god.
Nevertheless, his servants made us welcome,
and then Abraham himself came out
to see that we were well provided for.
And when he saw our ram—
It was the strangest thing!—
he bowed his head in silent thanks,
and our ram nodded back at him.
Keith Tornheim, October 2011