Cow Barn

Feed troughs and empty stanchions
line the aisle down the middle,
no cow flop or smell even left
after all these years, nothing
but imagination to put the cows back,
lowing and chewing and waiting
in the pre-dawn dark for the man
to come and blow on his fingers
and set to work drawing milk out
from swollen udders. Only the swallows
are left, nesting on beams, clearing
the air of insects that kept cows’ tails
flicking. And high in the empty loft
a pigeon coos, with only an echo in answer.

:: Matthew J Spireng, in Blueline (24)

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