The Scapegoat at Carlingford Lough

© By Janet Shepperson

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I stand on the pebbled shore at Rostrevor,
my back to the placid Edwardian villas
under Slieve Martin – its curled up forests
reflecting sleepily in the Lough.
the winter day sinks into a crescent
of light, between North and South.

Upstream of Warrenpoint
a black line leaves the map,
disintegrates to specks
drifting apart, dissolving,
sweeping down the narrows
to the sea.

Cold fills the North.
The clouds move briskly.
Carlingford Mountain
shrinks into itself
like a child expecting
a blow.

Something emerges from the grass behind it,
whimpering, shivering; wet fur clings in streaks
parting to show the skin, shifting and changing
shape, a pitiful trail scraped by the wind
moving across the hillside, innocent, lethal;
the scapegoat stumbles off into the dusk.

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