How now she lumbers past the sideboard,
club chairs and table, imprints the rug
with immaculate hooves, how kind and liquid
her Guernsey eyes glance to the woman
at her haunches who thinks she should steer,
unsure how the beast got in, perhaps divine
intervention, a message from beyond—how
the female, warm sided and many chambered,
ruminates thick and thin, offers grassy milk,
how she can not be steered, even with a firm
hand on the barracks of her spine, but noses
out the rutted knoll, salt lick, manna
of oats, night belling suk, suk, suk unto
the hills and neighbors far, how now
her tracks dream home, a barn of tack, bed
of steaming straw, headstrong in red clover,
the low clouds, the dire weather.
Linda Parsons is the reviews editor for Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel and has contributed to The Georgia Review, Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, Southern Poetry Review, The Chattahoochee Review, Shenandoah, among many other journals and anthologies. Her latest poetry collection is This Shaky Earth, and she is playwright-in-residence for The Hammer Ensemble, the social justice wing of Flying Anvil Theatre in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Photographer’s Note: I admire the cow in this poem and love the immaculate hooves. Although I don’t have any photos of cows, I do have this photo collage with a hippo.