Slow Saunter of Wither

A cow’s ears can turn in any direction, and the field
is full of them flickering radar, small curtains

of flesh. We are an acoustic location, a passing thing.
Our car gulps in the grass air, is pulled by an under-

current. Dependence like a taste, the dark drawbridge
of night folding form down into nestle, wind rattling

the hollow half note of mailboxes. The chest
floor opens upon the earth, slow saunter of wither

and hook bone, verb between sun and graze, sun and
subsequently. No moo. No matter. Who or what was

the first to look toward the teat of another animal and feel
thirsty? Did they also feel suspended? Sleepy? Cosseted?

Guilt or indignity for the theft? I am, even now, startled
by their calmness, heart girth purring like a small fan.

Milk teetering in warm pockets, and us nearby—
continuous intravenous drip. Dream of clotted cream,

sinewy lullaby. Water to wine—that’s showmanship. Water
to milk—that’s love and peril. A marriage that should raise

a cathedral up around their pin bones, sacred the space
so to take is to need: dire roast. But instead we

forklift the living into the living, harvest what we can’t.
News reports recall meat is piling up in school districts.

Freezers. Hangs from our bodies. When the cows lie down
in unison, we better run for cover. I try, but my feet are full

of meat, heavy against the moving vehicle on the moving earth,
milky clouds amassing above us like a scavenging.  end