Awakened from a dream of endless to-do lists by a clanking
cow bell, I run to the window and see a black and white cow grazing
on my front lawn under a flamboyant harvest moon.

Her baleful eyes stare up at me while chewing her cud
as her body opens, releasing steaming cow-flops and a deluge
of a straw-yellow river of piss.

Escaping from the barn she must have meandered down Rote 17,
ignoring the hullabaloo of blaring horns. A black and yellow bobolink
hitched a ride on her rump, singing spink, spank, spink all the way down.
Welcoming the cow, wondering if she’s not as dumb as she looks,
I notice she’s fully present, with four hooves connecting her odiferous soul
to the earth, her tail mindlessly swatting flies.

Remembering this cow at the farm in Afton, summer of ’42, who now must
have returned to me for my strong milking hands and the way I soothed
her chapped teats and bag with a balm of udder budder.

I miss the sweet tang of new mown hay and the milk-scented air during
the familiar routine of letting down milk from plodding bovines. I can still
hear the poignant choral of whinnying horses stomping in the corral.

I fed the hens and hogs, and sweated in the fields baling hay from sunrise
to sunset for a dollar a day. With a sassafras twig between my teeth I milked
a herd of patient Holsteins morning and evening, reminding me to just be.