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SHEEP FAIR DAY/Kerry Hardie So I took God with me to the sheep fair, I said, "Look, there's Liv, sitting on the wall, waiting, these are pens, these are sheep, this is their shit we are walking in, this is their fear. See that man over there, stepping along the low walls between pens, eyes always watching, mouth always talking, he is the auctioneer. That is wind in the ash trees above, that is sun splashing us with running light and dark. Those men over there, the ones with their faces sealed, are buying or selling. Beyond in the ring where the beasts pour in, huddle and rush, the hoggets are auctioned in lots. And that woman with the ruddy face and the home-cut hair and a new child on her arm, that is how it is to be woman with the milk running, sitting on wooden boards in this shit-milky place of animals and birth and death as the bidding rises and falls." Then I went back outside and found Fintan. I showed God his hand as he sat on the rails, how he let it trail down and his fingers played in the curly back of a ewe. Fintan's a sheep man, he's deep into sheep, though it's cattle he keeps now, for sound commercial reasons. "Feel that," I said. "Feel with my heart the force in that hand that's twining her wool as he talks." Then I went with Fintan and Liv to Refreshments, I let God sip tea, boiling hot, from a cup, and I lent God my fingers to feel how they burned when I tripped on a stone and it slopped. "This is pain," I said, "there'll be more." And the morning wore on and the sun climbed 20 · The Missouri Review and God felt how it is when I stand too long, how the sickness rises, how the muscles burn. Later, at the back end of the afternoon, I went down to swim in the green slide of river, I worked my way under the bridge, against the current, then I showed how it is to turn onto your back with above you and a long way up, two gossiping pigeons, and a clump of valerian, holding itself to the sky. I remarked on the stone arch as I drifted through it, how it dapples with sunlight from the water, how the bridge hunkers down, crouching low in its tracks and roars when a lorry goes over. And later again, much later, in the kitchen, very tired now at day's ending, and empty, I showed God how it feels to let the tight coil of yourself dissolve and grow age-old, nameless— only a woman sweeping a floor, darkness growing. Kerry Hardie The Missouri Review · 21 SUZANNA K. DANCES/iCerry Hardie Suzanna K., the dark jersey, the serious glowing face, the red-gold frame of feathered hair, the fresh open confidence. Dinner over, she stands up. A fall of cream satin skirt to the ankle. The music starts, some sort of cha-cha. She stands on the edge of the dance floor and it flicks past her, a trailed thread, catching her attention. She flips her hips—a little, small movement. A rocking wriggle of shoulders follows it up. Her face goes inwards, her body goes fluid, her hips are the music. The satin skirt reveals her—satin covers satin, the dimples on her buttocks, the fine line of her knickers. I can't take my eyes off her. I might never have seen a young woman, the way I am caught by her; never have been a young woman. I didn't ever notice it was like this when I was. She has flicked back the curtain. Just for a moment, not even knowing it. I clench in angry fear at her incaution. Then something recalls her, her face remembers the room. "I've no partner," she says, and just stops. 22 · The Missouri Review FLOW/Kerry Hardie That morning, the drive through rain down the twisted road. Wild cherry, its scatter of blossom and leaves, its windy spaces. One swallow flickering...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9930
Print ISSN
0191-1961
Pages
pp. 20-25
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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