Cow Song

My sleep rolls through the hust of crickets' purr
to find split girth, birth's note stalking my dark room.
Father slips on boots as her sound consumes
our squarish house. I am getting older.
I do as I'm told. The cow's tongue slurs,
one blue slack leg dangling from her womb.
He steps through the springer's black perfume
and palm to belly, checks for breath, the stir.
The hooked moon shifts through redwoods as danger
lodges, sifts in his hand. Tight lips spill
stifled goddamns while dark hooves scrape their lists.
He goes in arm-length with slip-noosed hanger
to loosen young shoulder from hip. Cow song fills
the silver pail. The shotgun sits and sits.

:: Susan B.A. Somers-Willett, in Crab Orchard Review (2006)

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