Ovis canadensis

Bighorn sheep
Kathleen Blair



Calling the Cimarron


We are the cimarron.

We are the wild.

We live in high, stony places where a clear, cold wind curls and sings in our horns.

We live above the valley of bright sand and watch the ragged horizon with sun gold eyes.


We see the place where the highest stones look like the spine of the ram who fell where the coyotes                        could not go.

We once were there but are no more.

We cannot see the path from here.

The oldest ewes no longer know the ways of water there to teach the lambs.


The ones like you that came before walked lightly as rabbits on the earth.

They sang for the rain.

They took our lives with atlatls and bows to sustain their own as did the eagles, lions, and wolves.

They carved our kind on canyon walls, on stark, dark boulders to call our spirits and renew our herd.


The other ones that came with you drink all the water and eat the grass that we once did.

They brought red blindness and the crust that eats our wool away.

We cannot cross those hard, black trails where shining creatures roar with eyes bright as the moon.

We were born in the arc of distant mountains many, many herds ago but now few lambs survive.


Now the lights of your places blind the stars.

Now the air of your places is thick and dull.

Now the wind of this place is filled with your sounds.

The scent of the creosote no longer tells us where it rained.


Once you called us and we came.

Once we lived in the mountains we watch but now, we are gone.

Once we were many in the mountains we watch but now, we are none.

We are the wild.







Born and raised in the Kansas Flint Hills, Kathleen Blair earned a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in wildlife ecology and was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Brazil. Now retired to Hillsboro, NM from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, her interests include writing, painting, native species, homesteading, and Native American history.