Where does this shofar come from? I stand, hooves split between the rocks, head heavy from a weight I feel but have never seen. I rely on that weight as I rely on my parents, as we rely on our little lambs. There across the yellow valley, beyond the porcupine grasses, I see my nemesis, my rival, angry-eyed, neck arched, knees slightly bent. His approach is steady. Smoke rises from flared nostrils. He wants what I have, and he’s ready to take it. My confidence—it falters all at once, like a child’s rhyme. How can I know my horns are even there? My head unbends, weightless. He turns as if to walk away from me, and I, from him. Ahead of me now, a peninsula of rocks cascading up — to a bluff—and I wish it were this easy: simply turn. Walk away. Propelled by our fears in the right direction that is wrong. My heart beats hard between my legs. In a moment, we will turn back and face one another and then in a clatter of driving hooves and blasted rocks and exploding clods of earth we will charge. In a moment we will meet, and here I am, defenseless. But it’s time. Turning now, I see his horn, swirling with royal light, and in his horn, I realize my own. Feel the sudden press of them, their lethal curve, a forward gleam. It’s his horn you will have, not mine. I raise my head, scratching at the dirt, and wonder: Where does a poem come from?

JOSH ROLNICK's short story collection, Pulp and Paper, won the John Simmons Short Fiction Award, selected by Yiyun Li. His short stories have also won the Arts & Letters Fiction Prize and the Florida Review Editor’s Choice Prize. They have appeared in Harvard Review, Western Humanities Review, Bellingham Review, and Gulf Coast, and have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best New American Voices. Rolnick teaches fiction writing at the Johns Hopkins M.A. in Writing program and the Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop. “Ram” is his first published poem.