Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tuesday Poem: previously published by Salt Hill Journal in 1990 and Caprice in 1992

Cow Crossing

Each one is a black and white newsreel,
an ache of bones undulating,
a moan against gravity.

Big as cars, they
lurch across the road,
rumble and bellow, eyes bulging
at the boy who shoos them barnward,

as chased and clucked toward milking
they go, placing one dainty hoof
in front of another, careful as two
tightrope walkers, encased in a cow suit,
afraid of falling.

All go except the one
who turns her dark face away from the rest,
flicks her tail at the boy,
at his calls and whistles,
as if he were just a big fly.

She wants to stay lost
in the apples and timothy of the pasture forever.
She twitches and shoulders the air,
sweeping away the stone walls,
the stanchions and hungry machines,
with her slow head.

The stuff in her velvet bag
will clot and curdle
if he doesn't coax her out soon.

What can she do?
Caught, she lows to him softly.

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