Kate Peper

Zen Cow

Days of fog burning off, the circular flight
of the vulture, the “I” disappearing
Eat. Drink. Breathe.

She took her place among the herd.
At first it was hard, staying still.
She marveled at their long tongues
muscling in wild mustard and rattlesnake grass.
At the trough, their tagged ears bobbed
as fifteen, twenty mouths lapped in water.
She was right there, dipping her face in,
even letting the black flies cluster
on her reddened hide, the corner of her eye.
Once in a great while, one lifted
her great head, muzzle dripping, and bellowed.
At the field’s far end, picnickers
gathered baskets, blankets and moved on.
She felt her one stomach full of dandelion,
rubbed her grass-stained shins, and lay down.

She had forgotten name, numbers, shoes.
The need to move quickly and search for everything.
She cradled herself in the grass,
chlorophyll, dung, fly-buzz swirling around her,
eyes half-lidded, black and white
haunches twitching in synch.